The Canadian Medical Association concluded that the national costs of air pollution will amount conservatively to $257B between 2008 and 2031.Transportation makes up a whopping 40% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Waterloo Region. Automobiles also emit particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds, which all contribute to smog in cities and impact our health.  We need to start thinking of more alternatives – start thinking electric.Electric Vehicles (EVs) emit zero (that’s right, ZERO!) GHG emissions on-site. In fact,  since 86% of Ontario’s electricity is generated from low-emission sources, making the electricity to drive an EV emits only about 10% of what is released by a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) car. As we continue to choose more environmentally friendly electricity generation options, emissions from EVs can lower even further.Beyond the health and environmental benefits of using EVs, there is something in it for the owner too:

  • EVs cost about 1/8th of the amount per km you drive, putting more money in your pocket each month (and keeping you from the increasing prices at the pump).
  • EVs provide optimal performance. EVs produce maximum torque and smooth acceleration from a full stop, transferring 75% of the power generated directly to the wheels compared to 20% for ICE vehicles.
  • No more oil changes! The simplicity of an electric system results in much less maintenance for the owner. EVs require less frequent brake changes due to regenerative braking technology and have no fluids (other than windshield washer).

With all of these benefits, there remain many challenges to the adoption of EVs, namely their high price tag, availability of public charging infrastructure, and the lack of public exposure. In 2012 only 5% of Ontarians  had driven or even seen an electric vehicle. Overcoming these challenges will be the first steps toward WWF Canada’s goal of putting 600,000 EVs on Canadian roads by 2020, and our local target of 1,000 in Waterloo Region. The good news is that we’re getting there. To date, Waterloo Region has 13 public charging stations and 95 EVs on the road (leaps and bounds from where we were in 2010). Thanks to WWF funding, we have been able to support the installation of a new charging station in Kitchener at the Charles and Benton Parking Structure, and Waterloo Region citizens have enjoyed the opportunity to learn about and test drive different EVs at UpTown Waterloo’s OpenStreets event this past weekend.

During National Electric Drive Week, we encourage you to take some time to learn more about EVs. Join ChargeWR’s Facebook group , follow us on Twitter, and consider coming out to SWR’s upcoming Plugging-In: The Value of Electric Vehicle Technology event on October 8th. Get charged up and help us lead Waterloo Region toward change!

– Allan, Program Development Manager 

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Want to talk EVs? Email Allan at