*

Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
menu +

Blog


The New Model T
13Mar
2011

Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry with his Model T back in 1908. He claimed the customer could have a car “any color that he wanted, so long as it was black”.

It was a car designed for the masses, from the well-heeled, affluent captains of industry to the lowly assembly-line workers.  Ford’s vehicles, though made with the highest quality materials, were extremely affordable.

We have journeyed over a century away from the launch of the Model T, and as Ian Clifford indicates, we might just be “on the verge of very, very significant change, very disruptive change, sort of at a scale that we haven’t seen for a very long time.”

Model T Ford Roadster

The thought of an electric car is a bit like the concept of 3D films; the idea is old, the concept has taken off a few times and failed, but we might just be getting closer to making it happen for good.

Hybrids have been on the market for a few years now, and several companies such as Dynasty Electric Cars, Miles Electric Vehicles, Global Electric Motorcars and Clifford’s ZENN Motor Company are pushing the boundaries of electric car technology.

The fact that these cars are still not easily accessible is due not only to their currently inflated prices, but also to the electrical power overload that this whole transition implies for our current electrical supply.

Tesla Roadster, all-electric sports car, charging

The future of electric vehicles still holds a lot of uncertainty. For example, where will we charge them? Replacing gas stations with battery charging stations is always a possibility. One idea floating around is that consumers should be able to buy multiple car batteries that can actually slide in and out of their cars.

This would allow us to have back ups for whenever we run out of juice. The only thing certain is that with the rising cost of oil and the climate changes we are facing, we are indeed at a moment of change, perhaps a change that will lead us to have ‘any color–so long as it’s electric.’

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Since early January of this year articles and blogs have been telling us 2011 is going to be “The Year of the Electric Car”. This mighty title was taken from an early January Globe and Mail article of the same name and has re-opened talk around Ontario’s sometimes unclear stance on electric cars on our roads.

Electric car use is presently at provincial-level jurisdiction, but that wasn’t always the case. Transport Canada originally approved electric cars for sale and use, but left the finer details to be worked out province by province.

The perception that Ontario didn’t allow electric cars is not correct, but it does speak of the quandary of legislation it passed which rendered these e-vehicles of very little use to everyday drivers. The stringent safety standards set out by the province meant the low-speed e-vehicles in existence could not be driven on most Ontario roads.

This left e-cars like the Zenn in a position to operate only in closed, private spaces – hardly practical. It also forced the Canadian manufacturer Zenn, to sell its product in the United States and other countries with more reasonable safety standards.

However, 2010 saw the provincial government express more interest in the possibilities e-vehicles present. Safety standards have stayed consistent which allowed car-makers to catch up. Cash rebates are also offered to those purchasing electric cars as of July 1st 2010.

This incentive deal is coupled with the vast array of choices consumers now have when sourcing an e-car, in 2011 models from such manufacturers as Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and even the sexy Porsche and Tesla companies are being rolled out to compete in this new corner of the market.

The Ontario government has more recently taken further steps to promote use of e-cars, announcing it wants to see 5% of all vehicles on Ontario roads are electric by the year 2020. Ontario energy companies are busy preparing for the upcoming demand this will place on the grid by investing $7 million into Ryerson University’s new Centre for Urban Energy over the next 5 years.

This cash infusion will allow Ryerson University to tackle such tough energy supply issues as ways that cities can produce more energy, how to distribute it cleanly, and improving energy storage techniques.

It took a while, but Ontario is bringing the electric car back to life.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters!
Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

TOP