A future without fuel

A Tesla Motors Model S gets its battery charged at a standard electrical charging station in Europe. (Photo: Courtesy of Ben Kerckx)

Robert Williamson
Biz/Tech Reporter

The future is going to be electric.

The automotive industry, along with the sustainable energy community, is working towards the day when the average motorist will own a fully electric vehicle, contributing to a smart-grid where cheap electricity is readily available at all times.

“The idea of distributed generation is that virtually anybody can be a generator or anybody can contribute to the grid,” said Kerry Johnston, head of the sustainable energy program at Humber College. “If we had a grid that was intelligent enough to allow many millions of points to put energy into the system, then the E.V. [Electric Vehicle] would be a component of that.”

The notion that Tesla and its counterparts are working towards an entire energy system based around renewable electricity rather than traditional fossil fuels is exciting not only for the environmentally conscious consumer, but one looking to save some money as well.

“The cost to drive a Tesla 100 kilometres is probably a quarter of what it costs to drive a gas powered vehicle the same distance and thats at the most expensive, using the most expensive electricity to charge it,” said Johnston.

The technologies involved in this automotive shift are now a talking point amongst students who are looking forward to the days of shopping for a brand new car.

“The way I look at it is, yeah I love my car now, but if I have to sacrifice a bit of power for cleaner air, then so be it,” said Vincent Nguyen, 23, a student of Humber College’s nursing program. “Anyone I’ve spoken about it with say the same thing, ‘our kids have to live here too.’”

Questioning the timeline of these technologies, students may find some rest in knowing these technologies could be available by the time school’s out.

“I’d say it’s happening now, in 2015,” said Jeremy Cato, senior automotive writer for The Globe and Mail.

Though Tesla Motors is well known, they are not the only electric vehicles currently available and are equivalent to the high-end gas powered cars like Mercedes Benz or Porsche. Much cheaper options are already available through many major car manufacturers.

“Companies like Chevrolet and Toyota have begun to release line-up’s of either E.V’s or F.C.V.’s [Fuel Cell Vehicles].” said Cato.

“The other E.V.’s [Electric Vehicles], the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi has the i-MiEV, Ford has a number of small E.V’s.” said Kerry Johnston. “They’re between the $30[000]-to-$40,000 range.”

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