EV/AV Report: Electric vehicles overload the system; while self-driving vehicles fall under investigation

Toronto, Ontario — In this weekly electric and autonomous vehicle report, Fraser Institute details the potential infrastructure issues of Canada’s push for electric vehicles (EVs); while Ford’s BlueCruise comes under investigation for a recent crash.

Circuitry Constrictions

According to a recent study published by the Fraser Institute, to fulfill Ottawa’s current electric vehicle target of 60 percent of all new cars and passenger trucks being zero-emission by 20230, provinces must substantially increase their electricity power generation.

Specifically, the report indicates that the rapid increase in EVs will escalate the demand for electricity to recharge vehicle batteries, leading to questions of whether or not Canada’s current electricity grid is prepared for the influx.

The study analyzed data on battery efficiency capacity and range for 299 EV models to assess the additional electricity required nationwide and then more specifically in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia where current EV adoption rates are highest.

The study found that electricity demand nationwide could increase by 15.3 percent in order to meet proposed mandates.

Comparatively, the impact on provinces varies, ranging from 26.2 percent potential increase in electricity demand in Ontario to 13.8 percent increase in British Columbia and 9.6 percent increase in Quebec.

The study further notes that accommodating this demand surge would require significant investments in new electricity generation capacity. Notably, accommodating this demand surge would require the construction of 10 new mega hydroelectric dams, comparable to B.C.’s Site C, or alternatively, 13 new gas plants of 500 megawatt capacity.

The report concludes that any EV policy decisions should transparently assess the impact of EV mandates on electricity reliability and affordability before proceeding with future mandates.

BlueCruise Blues

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently announced it will investigate a fatal crash that may have involved Ford’s advanced hands-free driving assist technology, BlueCruise.

The crash was originally reported by KSAT to have occurred on February 24 in San Antonio, Texas. The vehicle involved was a Ford Mustang Mach-E which rear-ended a Honda and killed its driver.
BlueCruise is considered the second most-capable hands-free driving assist on the United States market, behind only GM’s Super Cruise. The system allows the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel while driving on certain predetermined highways so long as the driver’s attention remains on the road.

Currently, it is unclear if BlueCruise was active during the time of the crash. If the system was in use, this would make it the first known crash involving a system with hands-free capability.

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