Is Canada's Grid Electric Car-Ready?

Biggest concern is clustering of electric vehicles by owners who live near each other.

Published: 01-Apr-2011

Robert Weekley plugs in his electric car as soon as he drives it home from work each evening — a time when the power grid is already heaving under the load of lights, ovens and TVs fired up just in time for dinner.

The batteries charge most effectively when they're still warm from the drive, he explains, as a layer of snow from a light flurry settles on his silver, converted 1990 Pontiac Firefly. Weekley lives in a low-rise apartment building in Toronto's northwest with no indoor parking. There is also no smart meter, so electricity costs the same all day long and there's no incentive for him to charge during off-peak hours.

So far, Weekley is among just a handful of electric car owners in Canada — a microscopic fraction of the country's fleet of 20 million petroleum-powered vehicles. Their impact on the power grid is minimal.

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