Nova Scotians have long assumed that driving an electric car here is the equivalent of running the vehicle on coal, because that’s what Nova Scotia Power uses t0 run its generators.
But NSPI’s much-improved fuel mix, combined with the high efficiency of electric motors, has changed the math. Halifax-centric Turpin Labs bought a 2012 Nissan Leaf and easily cut our road emissions by more than half and, incidentally, reduced fuel costs by more than 70%.
These are real-world results, based on an 18-month commissioning process that began when I spotted a used Leaf at a bargain price. The results are supported, in principle, by real research done at Dal five years ago.
Over 8,000 km, the Leaf generated 912 kg of CO2, via NSPI’s generators. Our previous car, a 2010 Toyota Matrix, would have generated 1,840 kg over the same distance. By the way, this 8,000 km cost $230 in electricity, taxes in. The Matrix would have burned through 800 litres of gasoline costing $834. Maintenance of the Leaf is low because electric motors are relatively simple.
Oh, and if you own a family car, don’t even think of challenging me at a stop light. Leafs have heavy-duty torque, buddy, so you’ll find yourself eating my electrons.
On the other hand, this is a city car. I drive it around Halifax all day and plug it into the house at night a couple of times a week. If I have to drive, say, out to someone’s cottage, I rent a gas-burner. Fuel economy drops off in cold weather, as it does for gasoline cars, but that can present a range problem in winter. You have to plan a little more, which is a challenge because of a lack of charging stations.
But for city dwellers, it makes sense. If you have two cars, making one of them electric is a no brainer.
All good, right? So, why isn’t NSPI flogging EVs and installing charging stations hither and thither? Why isn’t the NS government offering cash incentives to buy them like B.C., Ontario and Quebec, thus taking a big bite out our carbon emissions.
I asked the NS energy department:
From: Bill Turpin [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 11:48 AM
To: MacInnis, Marla J <Marla.MacInnis@novascotia.ca>
Subject: EV incentives
Hello Ms. MacInnis,
I notice that B.C., Ontario and Quebec offer valuable incentives for buying electric vehicles. I assume Nova Scotia has a policy on this. Would you mind briefly explaining it to me.
On Jan 12, 2017, at 1:15 PM, MacInnis, Marla J <Marla.MacInnis@novascotia.ca> wrote:
Nova Scotia does not currently provide any incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles.
I apologize — I should have been clearer. I was hoping you might know why there are no incentives in Nova Scotia. By my calculation, EVs would have a significant impact on the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.
So there you have it.
Dr. Larry Hughes, Electric vehicles in Nova Scotia: An examination of availability, affordability, and acceptability issues, A report for Nova Scotia Power, 11 January 2016
Larry Hughes and Shan Sundaram, Do Electric Vehicles Make Carbon-Sense in Nova Scotia?, 2011