Study Finds Electric Vehicles Can Help Toronto Reduce Its Carbon Footprint

Pollution Probe finds that planning for the introduction of electric vehicles is a complex exercise.

Published: 25-Oct-2010

Electric vehicles could contribute up to 37% of Toronto’s annual target for GHG emissions reductions by 2030, according to a new report released by Canada-based environmental NGO Pollution Probe. Higher reductions were associated with a greater proportion of commercial-duty electric vehicles within the vehicle mix.

The report, “Unlocking the Electric Mobility Potential of Toronto: Moving Toward an Electric Mobility Master Plan for the City”, is the result of in-depth research, analysis and consultation with stakeholders, which culminated in a set of recommendations for advancing the deployment of electric vehicle technology in Canada’s largest urban region.

Part of the analysis involved conducting comprehensive simulations of the response of Toronto’s electricity grid to the charging profiles associated with various scenarios of electric vehicle use in the city.

We recognized at the outset of this project that the barriers to the effective integration of electric vehicles would be regionally specific, defined by the policies, the infrastructure and the mobility patterns of a given community. So we set out to identify the critical elements of a successful electric mobility master plan for the City of Toronto. —Bob Oliver, Executive Director of Pollution Probe

The report found that while there would be significant emissions reductions associated with electric vehicle use, the capacity of the grid to accommodate the additional demand for power was limited in some regions of the city, said Kimberly Scratch, Transportation Project Manager. “This means that the early deployment of electric vehicles must be managed carefully to avoid interruptions in service, and that over time, upgrades to the local grid and the use of Smart Grid technology will be an important part of an electric mobility master plan,” she added.

Planning for electric vehicles is complex work, Pollution Probe says, as it cuts across the scope of many organizations. A collaborative approach among local stakeholders is essential to successful planning. The recommendations in this report identify some of the critical players, including the Government of Ontario and the private sector.

Pollution Probe extends its thanks to the Toronto Community Foundation, Ontario Power Generation, Toronto Atmospheric Fund, the Ministry of Transportation and Metrolinx for supporting this research. Pollution Probe would also like to thank Toronto Hydro for their in-kind contribution to the simulation work.

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