Electric Vehicles Make Cents Now, But Will They Always?

April 28, 2022

MARK MACDONALD

BRITISH COLUMBIA – It would be shocking if there is still anyone in the automobile business that doesn’t view electric vehicles as part of the industry’s future.

With the top-down push towards electric cars and trucks and accompanying promises, threats, policies and, yes, subsidies, car companies would be foolish to ignore the obvious opportunities.

If, as promised, the federal government follows through on its ban all sales of private gas-powered vehicles by 2035, there isn’t a dealership or manufacturer in this country that can ignore that. Doing so would be certain financial suicide. Even those who don’t believe that the government’s push and urgency is justified would be foolish to overlook the serious economic subsidies and cash inflow to sell and promote E-vehicles.

Canada’s governments have effectively created an environment for growth that is not market-dependent. How many Canadians would purchase electric vehicles if the price point was truly reflective of market forces? If they were forced to pay true market pricing for electricity, instead of being able to take advantage of “free” plug-ins at shopping malls and other subsidized outlets, would they? Right now it pleases the pocketbook to drive e-cars, as voltage prices dwarf those at the town pump. But will that always be the case.

Absolutely not.

The push towards much-more expensive “green” power from wind farms and smaller run-of-river projects has already been affecting rates. Continuous fights against Site C dam construction and increased costs for the new Peace River power project will be paid somehow, some way, by the end user. Customers always end up paying the freight.

When all is said and done, it would be shocking if the price to fully charge an electrical vehicle differs greatly from what it costs to fill a tank with gasoline.

As this adventures continues, where are we going to get the electricity? An industry insider insists that BC Hydro has enough power for the expected demand. This is due to the expected contribution of Site C to the existing power grid, and continual reminders of how to use less.

There is an acknowledgement that even more electricity will be needed. Watching how Site C dam was contested, it’s hard to foresee an attitude change in regards to more dams on major rivers. Nuclear power plants are being viewed by some as an alternative. Can we envision Canada spotted with nuclear reactors in the near future – our very own Chernobyl, if you will?

When Justin Trudeau said he admired China’s dictatorship, the comment was dismissed by supporters and overlooked by adversaries. Yet it’s hard to view the Prime Minister’s recent actions and reactions as not being dissimilar to a Chinese emperor – which Canadian government structure allows. The only difference is, if we don’t like the Dictator/Prime Minister/Premier, we can remove them at the ballot box. Attempts to do so in China don’t historically end well for dissidents.

One can’t help but harken back to Chairman Mao’s decision to push Chinese citizens to forego agriculture in favor of attempting to manufacture stainless steel which, Mao said, would be used to pay bills the country amassed with Russia. It was an abysmal failure, as literally millions of Chinese perished from starvation – and the stainless steel was worthless and unsaleable.

Mao did because Mao could. Trudeau has done what he has because Trudeau can. The ideology of the leader carries the day. Would another Prime Minister and federal government follow these dictates, or will they choose another path?

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has demonstrated the dependence on fossil fuels, and what happens when supply is curtailed. It’s not a pretty sight, and shows how much everyone needs affordable energy.

Despite all of Canada’s delusional visions of self-importance and global leadership, the fact remains that outside our borders, few, if any, governments pay attention to Canadian policy. While it fancies itself as cutting edge and forward thinking, China, Russia, India and the United States – the world’s most populous and energy consuming nations – pay little if any heed to what Canada does. Canucks lecture other countries about fossil fuel consumption out of one side of its face, while out of the other, they willingly inhale the revenues that accompany oil, gas and coal extraction.

We produce it and export it, others consume it, yet Canada still somehow maintains a sense of moral superiority in its lecturing.

Make no mistake, Canada’s economy picture would be a muddled mess if it weren’t for fossil fuels. Alberta’s resurgence has everything to do with spiraling demand for its oil and gas, as primary supplier Russia’s war disrupts the global energy supply chain. Premier Jason Kenney can withdraw provincial taxes to make gas more affordable for Albertans while simultaneously taking a swipe at federal carbon taxes due to the fact prices for its resources have shot through the roof. Happy days are here again for Alberta, without a doubt.

Nobody is saying that electric vehicles are useless or futile. The point is that this ideological drive is driven by government policies and revenues – creating a market that had limited potential to develop on its own.

Will it be ultimately successful? Does it make sense? Or will it cost everyone a lot more cents in the end?

Mark MacDonald is President of Communication Ink Media & Public Relations Ltd. and Author of the book “It Worked For Them, It Will Work For Me: The 8 Secrets of Small Business I Learned From Successful Friends”, which can be obtained by reaching him through: mark@communicationink.ca

 

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