The electric vehicle revolution is coming, but is the infrastructure in place to maintain it? – Technology & Science

As electric vehicles become more affordable, a lack of charging station infrastructure may be serving as a roadblock to widespread adoption.

Tesla, Volvo, and BMW are just a few of the automotive manufacturers that have pledged support for building affordable, consumer-grade electric vehicles (EVs).

The global stock of registered electric vehicles surpassed the two million mark last year, according to a report from the International Energy Agency, with 95 per cent of sales coming from 10 countries, including Canada.

Canada’s EV sales were up 19 per cent in 2016 over the year prior, the report says. Still, that represents only 0.59 per cent of the total market — with just under 30,000 EVs registered here.

Electric vehicle advocates, however, say there’s only so much that industry can do if consumers don’t express their support for an electric shift.

Fears like range anxiety — the concern that electric vehicles are unable to travel the same distance as gas-powered ones — tend to stop people from fully committing to an electric option.

But in a lot of ways, the problem is a catch-22.

In cities like Regina, for example, a lack of public infrastructure means fewer citizens are likely to invest in electric vehicles, leading to a lack of support for electric vehicle infrastructure.

Still, provincial governments are slowly pledging support to the electric revolution, as some members of the private sector are capitalizing on an economy driven by electric vehicles.

On the nature of ‘range anxiety’

Critics will tell you electric vehicles just can’t compete with traditional gas vehicles when it comes to distance. But if you ask Wilf Steimle, president of Ontario’s Electric Vehicle Society, he’ll tell you to crunch the numbers on your own daily driving habits before balking.

‘I drive an unusually high amount every … [and] I drive 100 per cent of that electric.’
Wilf Steimle, president of the Electric Vehicle Society

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