Public Acceptance of Electric Vehicles in Toronto
Keywords:battery, electric vehicle, charging, infrastructure
Habitants of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) currently suffer from extreme commutes due to urban sprawl, lack of major roadways, and insufficient public transit. As gas prices continue to increase, people are constantly looking for ways to reduce their fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions, and battery electric vehicles can reduce both of these needs. The lack of charging infrastructure is causing “range anxiety” – fear of being stranded without power. As public charging stations become more common, range anxiety should be alleviated and allow for wider public acceptance.
Currently there are three main categories of electric vehicles: gasoline/diesel hybrid electric vehicle, plug-in electric hybrid, and battery electric vehicles. All of these vehicles have the common parts: electric motor, inverter, and battery.
There are 3 levels of battery charging: Level 1 charging is from a common electrical 110V outlet, and may take up to 20h to fully charge a depleted pack; Level 2 charging uses a 220V (washing machine) outlet, and will require 4-6 hours; Level 3 charging will complete in less than 30 minutes, and will be similar to a gas station.
Based on the acceptance of hybrid electric vehicles, early adopters aged 40 to 50 with at least a bachelors degree should adopt the technology first. Car sharing programs, taxis, and delivery trucks will also quickly adopt electric vehicles into their fleets because it is more economical than gasoline cars. Each of the 44 wards in Toronto were scored on population, age, household income, level of education, and number of daily auto trips. According to the normalized score, the first wards to adopt electric vehicle technology are wards 23, 22, 25, 27, and 16. Infrastructure should be built in these wards to accelerate public acceptance.
In the near future, automakers should: retrain their staff to service electric vehicles, focus on reducing car weight and size to maximize vehicle range, continue battery research and development, and determine how to properly dispose of batteries.
The Toronto government should follow lead of other governments and regulate gasoline prices, and provide tax incentives and subsidies to electric vehicles and infrastructure to promote adoption.