Are electric vehicles a viable option with Saskatchewan winters?
Thought about installing electric vehicle chargers and solar power systems to charge electric vehicles? They are an increasingly popular option!
THE BATTERY IS UNRELIABLE
As with a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE), it does take more energy to run an EV in the colder months, although Keyser noted that the battery powering her Tesla Model S is much more reliable in winter than the battery needed to start an ICE vehicle.
Cruickshank added that the engine in his Chevrolet Bolt kicks in automatically to keep the battery warm. Another plus is the fact that the 12-volt starter battery will never die because it's constantly being charged — whether plugged in or not, he said.
“A lot of people compare these batteries to their cellphones. But those batteries are designed for different operating conditions — it's not designed for cooler temperatures; there is nothing in there to try to keep the battery warm or conditioned."
COLD REDUCES THE EV'S RANGE
Keyser admits her Model S doesn't make it quite as far in the winter months as it does in the summer — about 25 percent less, according to her observations — but ICE vehicles also consume more fuel when idling or powering heaters and other electronics. For her, it's simply a matter of shifting her thinking to how she can drive to better extend the battery's range.
When she has used her car on a long road trip, the charging stops gave her a chance to discover different communities where she would never have stopped otherwise, she added.
CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE IS LACKING
While there is some truth to this, Keyser said it's simply a downfall of being a pioneer of the continuously growing industry. Both Keyser and Cruickshank admit Saskatchewan is significantly behind the rest of Canada in this aspect.
“When motorized vehicles first came along, there weren't gas stations everywhere," Keyser noted.
Most EV owners don't use public charging stations for full charges, opting instead to plug into a regular wall outlet overnight or at work, Cruickshank said. As long as they aren't on a long trip, finding a public charger isn't required unless they want to top up their battery while out and about.
CHARGING TAKES TOO LONG
When it's cold, no one wants to have to stop for hours to recharge a vehicle — But unless you are travelling a long distance, you generally don't tend to completely drain the battery.
Cruickshank said it can take about eight hours to fully charge his Bolt using a standard plug — fine for an overnight charge, but he admits it's not ideal when travelling long distances.
However, the technology is advancing quickly and more quick charge stations are popping up that can take a battery from zero to 80 percent in less than 45 minutes.
EV IS SIMILAR IN EFFICIENCY TO AN ICE VEHICLE
Even in Saskatchewan, where the majority of electricity comes from burning coal, EVs are about twice as efficient compared to their gas-burning counterparts.
Plugndrive.ca estimates every 20,000 kilometres Keyser drives her Model S in Saskatchewan costs roughly $570 and outputs 2,495 kg of carbon dioxide. Those numbers jump significantly, to $2,490 and 4,880 kg of carbon dioxide, when calculated for an ICE vehicle.
Cruickshank's Bolt performs even better, costing only $490 and outputting only 2,160 kg of carbon dioxide.
In provinces like Quebec and Manitoba, where electricity is mainly created at hydroelectric generating stations, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted drops to roughly 30 to40 kg for every 20,000 kilometres driven.
Original Artcicle - Star Phoenix https://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/five-misconceptions-about-driving-an-electric-car-in-winter
TransCanada is Buying Up Solar Power to Increase Renewable Energy Presence
TransCanada, the Calgary based energy infrastructure company is buying another solar power facility in Ontario in a bid to increase its presence in the renewable energy market. The Mississippi Mills project, about 60 kilometres west of Ottawa has a generating capacity of about 10 megawatts. This new deal is part of a prior agreement with Canadian Solar to buy nine Ontario solar facilities in order to expand its renewable energy while also promoting fossil fuel projects (such as the Keystone XL pipeline) which would carry bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands into refineries in Texas. The total cost of the nine solar power facilities is about $500 million. Whereas, the Keystone XL pipeline is expected to cost around $5.3 billion. Since the initial announcement in December, TransCanada has already acquired four of the nine solar plans in Ontario which are as follows: Brockville 1, Brockville 2 and the Burritts Rapids project in Ottawa. The energy from these plants is being sold to the Ontario Power Authority for $443 per megawatt hour as part of a 20-year power purchase agreement.
TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling said, “We are pleased to have acquired an additional solar facility in Ontario as part of our growing energy portfolio, one-third of which are facilities that produce electricity from emission-less sources.”
Solar Panels and Hail
Everyone who has talks about solar panels invariably asks about hail. It’s an understandable question. Canada, especially around Saskatoon, and the rest of Saskatchewan can’t go a year without hail of some sort. These panels are supposed to last a long time, and the majority of the front face is glass. Glass that is going to be outside, with no cover or protection above it. Hail can cause a lot of damage, it can ruin entire crops, total off vehicles, and destroy siding and shingles.
What makes solar panels any different? Well for one, solar panels are built to last. They use tempered glass instead of plastics or regular plate glass. Tempered glass is much more resistant to impacts than regular glass. It’s able to with stand impacts at twice the speed that would break regular glass. If you know your physics (F=mv2), this translates into being four times as tough.
How tough are solar panels? Watch the video above of a solar panel taking a direct hit from a ball of ice the size of a billiard ball at 120 kph.
Hail isn’t as perfectly spherical or solid as what is shown in the video. It’s loosely held together, has many weak points and a lot of air trapped inside. Also, panels are rarely mounted in such a way that they would take a direct perpendicular impact from hail. Hail impacts will generally be at an angle, sometimes as much as 45 degrees – that’s more of a glancing blow than an impact. The one weakness of tempered glass is its edges. Impacts here can cause the entire sheet to shatter. This is why solar panels also have an aluminum frame. Aluminum keeps the weight down, provides corrosion free protection for the edges of the tempered glass and is a convenient mounting surface to secure the panels. Solar panels will last just as long if not longer than any other feature on the outside of your home.
Come hail, wind, rain or snow – solar panels do their job.