Electric vehicles are the future for Oshawa

The city of Oshawa has recently made a bad decision: not to purchase electric vehicles (EV’s) for their fleet. Why? The cost.

EV’s would be good for Oshawa because they have no greenhouse gas emissions, government incentives lower the price, and electric vehicles are easier to maintain than conventional gas guzzlers.

Emissions

Unlike conventional vehicles, EV’s themselves don’t have emissions, as they run on battery power, not gasoline. Conventional vehicles, on the other hand, need to be tested to make sure they have low enough emissions for public roads.

The issue with electric vehicles comes from the power source.

Fully electric vehicles themselves have no greenhouse gas emissions. If they are powered by a coal burning plant, it makes little difference.

Power generating plants in some Canadian provinces, and in America, create power through burning coal. This power would then be used to charge an electric vehicle. Burning coal gives off greenhouse gas emissions, making the electric vehicle no better than a conventional one.

Other power generating methods are hydro and nuclear power.

The type of power source differs depending on where you live. Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec all have hydro and nuclear power systems that significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions, but Alberta and Saskatchewan run mainly on coal burning power, according to Alternatives Journal.

Coal-burning plants have been banned in Ontario since 2014.

In contrast, no matter where you go, conventional vehicles run on gasoline, a fossil fuel, which is a diminishing resource. This source also releases greenhouse gases on a regular basis through the use of conventional vehicles. For this reason, the city of Oshawa should have chosen EV’s.

Government Incentives

Despite the benefits EV’s have for the environment, like the city of Oshawa, people are intimidated by the price. EV’s are more expensive when compared to conventional vehicles. However, the Ontario government has incentives in place to help make vehicles more affordable.

The Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (EVIP) was updated on Jan. 1.

The new EVIP eliminates caps on incentives up to 30 per cent of the suggested retail price. For electric vehicles which cost $75,000 to $150,000, it also eliminates the cap of $3,000 of incentives for electric vehicles.

In comparison, the government doesn’t have incentives for conventional vehicles. They are bad for the environment. Despite this, they are being sold at lower prices than electric vehicles before incentives.

The main price difference comes in the cost of running the vehicle. While the price of electricity must be considered, electric vehicles don’t use gasoline, making them a cheaper option on the road. Therefore, with EV’s the city could save money on gas.

Maintenance and Care Costs

EV’s require less maintenance when compared to conventional cars. EV’s don’t need oil changes, mufflers, exhaust systems or coolant flushes, like conventional vehicles do. This is because their quiet battery powered engines don’t require as much lubrication.

Savings can be anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 on vehicle maintenance per year, and there is less chance of lubricants being released into the environment.

Electric vehicles are still more expensive than conventional vehicles, however, they can be better for the environment than conventional vehicles, when powered with hydro or nuclear power and are low maintenance.

In the End…

In the end, responsibly powered fully electric vehicles are healthier for the environment. Thus, EV’s in Oshawa’s fleet would improve the lives of Oshawa’s citizens.

The question now is: did the city of Oshawa consider cost to be more important than the environment?

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Kirsten Jerry is a second-year journalism student at Durham College in Oshawa. She enjoys writing stories about people and the environment.

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