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Canada: Popularity of electric vehicles has Toronto Hydro concerned

Utility’s monitoring pilot program seeing more strain on local distribution transformers
EV Day
Staff photo/RAHUL GUPTA
The Nissan Leaf was one of several electric cars on display during the EV Day showcase Thursday at Yonge-Dundas Square. Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular according to Hydro Toronto which estimates more than 500 cars were sold in the Toronto-area since 2010.
City Centre Mirror
ByRahul Gupta

The increasing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) is resulting in more strain on Toronto’s overworked power grid, says a Toronto Hydro spokesperson.

While less than 100 vehicles were in operation in Ontario as little as three years ago the number has ballooned to 1,450 as EVs are proving ever more attractive to consumers due to cheap energy costs – $2,000 less per year than gas powered cars according to fuel efficiency estimates – and the availability of provincial rebates. However, according to Tom Odell the popularity is coming at an increased load to existing power utilities due to the exorbitant amount of power EVs can take up for charging.

“EV usage represents three to five times more than the power requirement of the average house,” said Odell, Toronto Hydro’s Capital Projects manager, last week. “It’s like throwing the energy usage of three households onto a neighbourhood utility.”

Odell was at the recent EV Day showcase at Yonge-Dundas Square where members of the public could check out and even test-drive various EV models from manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Nissan and Tesla Motors out of California, which is the world’s first car company devoted only to the manufacturing of EVs. According to sales figures, Tesla’s Model S sedan is the second highest selling EV in Canada, second only to the Chevy Volt.

Michelle Lee-Gracey from Ford said the Focus model on display at Yonge-Dundas Square was one of five EVs manufactured by the car giant and can travel around 120 kilometres on one single charge, with a top speed of around 135 kilometres.

Other cars on display for EV Day included offerings from Mitsubishi and Toyota.


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