Electric Vehicles and the Demand for Electricity

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Electric Vehicles and the Demand for Electricity
  • Governments are implementing measures to electrify transportation. In Canada, federal policy mandates that by 2035 all new passenger vehicles and light trucks sold have net zero emissions, ultimately leading to a fully electric fleet.
  • Electric vehicles (EVs) remain a relatively small share of the vehicle market, growing from less than 1% of sales in 2017 to 9.1% in Q4 2022.
  • This study examines the impact of increasing EV adoption on Canada’s electricity grids, estimating the additional generating capacity needed to meet the rising demand from EVs.
  • EVs could put a strain on Canadian electricity grids with annual increases in electricity demand ranging from 46.8 terawatt hours (7.5% of total generation) to 95.1 terawatt hours (15.3%).
  • This would require the construction of ten new mega dams, comparable to BC’s Site C, on Canadian rivers or thirteen new average-sized gas plants. Based on recent experience with British Columbia’s Site C dam, which has a capacity of 1,100 MW and is expected to generate sufficient power for 450,000 homes, it took more than a decade to plan and comply with environmental regulations and approximately another decade to construct. Meanwhile, there is growing opposition to the construction of additional gas pipelines and gas plants because of their environmental impacts.
  • Meeting the expected electricity demand from EVs adoption in Canada is not feasible given the current mandate timelines and the time required to develop and construct electricity generation and infrastructure.

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