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The Coming Disruption of Transport

syn

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Beware of those peddling technology solutions in transportation without common sense of spatial distribution, or understanding of mobility principles such as frequency and vehicular capacity (directing my gaze at both AV's and hyperloop)

To be fair to a service like Uber - a growing percentage of it's rides are pooled, a trend that's likely to continue.
 

sche

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I've been thinking about getting an EV. And the more I look at our infrastructure, the landscape is sort of absurd.

1) We have no fast chargers at our service centres on the 400-series highways.

2) We now have several competing charging networks (Ivy by Hydro One and OPG, Electrify Canada by Volkswagen, Petro-Canada, Tesla, etc.). And yet, they don't have uniform coverage. Or are limited to usage (Tesla).

3) We don't really seem to have a real plan for retrofitting all the existing condos and apartment buildings. Sure, there's some legislation. But it all essentially relies with condo boards to be proactive and invest in charging infrastructure.

Hard to make a case for disruption, when we can't organize ourselves to build out the infrastructure needed for the disruption....
This is not true. The only infrastructure you speak of is public fast charging stations, which are only necessary for road trips since in all other cases overnight charging is fine, and charging at condos/apartments, which applies to a minority of the population in Canada as most people (unfortunately) live in single family homes. For the vast majority of people and trips, the only infrastructure needed is an at home charger.

Besides, the charging network is actually quite decent already and is rapidly expanding. Govt really doesn’t need to do anything for this, private companies are doing it.
- Tesla Superchargers have covered the entire Trans Canada Hwy such that it is possible to drive from Hailfax to Vancouver through Canada only using a Tesla. They also have Calgary-Edmonton covered and will soon have Edmonton-Saskatoon too.
- Volkswagen is also rapidly expanding their network and will soon have Vancouver-Calgary and Windsor-Quebec city covered.
- Petro Canada also has coast to coast covered, though Tesla’s chargers are considerably better.
- I don’t see why the chargers have to be at OnRoute service stations - although it would be nice, it really doesn’t matter as long as it’s possible to drive between cities.

As for condos and apartments, they will very quickly start adding charging stations, they will have to as EVs get adopted. EVs will get adopted extremely quickly - pretty much every car sold in ten years will be electric. The disruption will occur because EVs are simply better than gasoline vehicles in pretty much every way possible - they cost less to maintain (less moving parts - no transmission, pretty much the only thing that moves is the motor and the wheels), they cost less to fuel, they are better for the environment, charging at home/work is more convenient than going to the gas station, they have better performance, and they will soon be cheaper than gas cars to buy due to the rapidly declining costs of batteries and other core EV technology.
 

afransen

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At this point in time, in Ontario, it seems like you would be crazy not to get a Tesla is you plan to use it as a road-trip vehicle (ie, not just a local commuter and a secondary car for long distances). All the other charging solutions are inferior, and can be used by Teslas as well (with adaptors) in addition to their proprietary network. Where I am in my life, Model Y makes the most sense, but I was kind of waiting for a cheaper, shorter range version to come out. As it stands with pricing, I might wait for Cybertruck, which seems like much better value, though with the inconvenience of it being quite so large.
 

kEiThZ

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The only infrastructure you speak of is public fast charging stations, which are only necessary for road trips

Not a minor consideration for most people buying a $50k automobile.

and charging at condos/apartments, which applies to a minority of the population in Canada

1) Not a small minority.

2) A particularly impactful minority since an apartment dweller is far more likely to buy a fuel efficient vehicle, drive less and mostly drive in urban areas. They are far more likely to buy an EV than somebody who lives with acreage and drives a pickup today.

As for condos and apartments, they will very quickly start adding charging stations, they will have to as EVs get adopted.

What exactly compels them to add charging stations "quickly"? There's still new buildings being built all over the country and province without charging infrastructure. In 2020.

- I don’t see why the chargers have to be at OnRoute service stations - although it would be nice, it really doesn’t matter as long as it’s possible to drive between cities.

You don't need them at service centres today. Because the volume of EVs isn't substantial. But that's not a solution that operates at scale. Imagine what would happen if 10-20% of the traffic went electric and decided to use Hwy 7 between Toronto and Ottawa. I can't imagine the communities en route would be happy at seeing traffic level go up several hundred percent. But yes, at the current growth rates of EV adoption, we're probably a decade away from having charging infrastructure at service centres being relevant.
 

kEiThZ

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I would prefer if it was mandated that say every gas station, shopping mall and big box store have at least a couple charging station but the issue will be resolved on it's own.

Gas stations are kinda pointless. They won't exist as we know them past the gasoline era. More than malls and big box stores, the bigger issue is homes. I would be happy to see government mandate that every parking spot in a home or condo garage come with at least a NEMA 5-20 outlet capable of delivering 2 kW continuously.
 

afransen

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2) A particularly impactful minority since an apartment dweller is far more likely to buy a fuel efficient vehicle, drive less and mostly drive in urban areas. They are far more likely to buy an EV than somebody who lives with acreage and drives a pickup today.

More and more, many urban apartment/condo dwellers will be relying on rideshare (likely to be autonomous eventually) or car share. Condos and apartments will still need to be retrofitted for electric vehicles, but EVs can achieve high market penetration just with those who live in SFH and can readily add home charging. An urban dweller that does little driving can probably get by doing most of his charging with a standard electrical outlet. 12 hour charging overnight delivers 40km of range on a standard wall outlet. The biggest challenge is how condos or apartments charge for power. This might be more a software problem than a hardware problem.

What exactly compels them to add charging stations "quickly"? There's still new buildings being built all over the country and province without charging infrastructure. In 2020.
In condos, when a critical mass of residents are looking for it, boards will look to add it (especially if the EV owners are inclined to sit on the board). In rental accommodations, vehicle charging will affect the marketability of units. Of course, many apartments won't get vehicle charging just like many apartments don't have in-unit laundry.


You don't need them at service centres today. Because the volume of EVs isn't substantial. But that's not a solution that operates at scale. Imagine what would happen if 10-20% of the traffic went electric and decided to use Hwy 7 between Toronto and Ottawa. I can't imagine the communities en route would be happy at seeing traffic level go up several hundred percent. But yes, at the current growth rates of EV adoption, we're probably a decade away from having charging infrastructure at service centres being relevant.
Charging stations can get built pretty quickly, provided the local grid is up to it. They can also be more distributed without all the environmental compliance (and staffing) overhead. Would not be surprised to see 6 or 8 stalls at every Tim Hortons that is near a highway. I'm a bit surprised that so many Tesla stations are not located closer to QSRs as they seem to be ideal adjacent uses.
 

kEiThZ

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An urban dweller that does little driving can probably get by doing most of his charging with a standard electrical outlet.

The problem is that a lot of condos don't have a standard NEMA 5-15 outlet at every parking spot. And even installing that would be quite the undertaking in some of the older, larger building garages.

condos, when a critical mass of residents are looking for it, boards will look to add it (especially if the EV owners are inclined to sit on the board).

Condo dwellers tend to be sensitive to fee increases. So that critical mass is probably a decade out. You'd have to be at or close to more than 50% of owners wanting such infrastructure installed. And that's assuming, there's no tighter covenants for non-essential special assessments.
 

lenaitch

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Current Ontario Building Code rules for detached houses:


Summary of Condominium Act changes for EVs:


I don't know what the current rules are for rental apartments. I understand some communities current have bylaws in place mandating charging stations (or provisions for, I'm not sure) for multi-unit dwellings.

I tried unsuccessfully to find what Tim Hortons revenue split is between walk-in and drive-through but, anecdotally, it is far skewed to drive-through, perhaps less so in small communities where it has become a bit of a hang-out. Depending on charging times, I would imagine both their business model and physical layout would have to change to accommodate vehicles waiting for a top-up.

As EVs ramp up, there will have to be a discussion about some kind of 'road tax' that replicates what is currently applied to fuel.
 

Admiral Beez

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Although I feel like I may have bought my last car, I also expect people will be keeping cars at a much higher level than projected.
I can see myself buying an electric car, but I‘ve no interest in car sharing, that’s a taxi by any other name.

I sense a lot of car sharing proponents think that owning a car is a nuisance or financial waste. But no, I enjoy driving, I enjoy cars and like to own my transport. So, while I’ll buy both an electric car and motorcycle, if I want to go somewhere without parking I’ll call a taxi or Uber.
 

sche

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Not a minor consideration for most people buying a $50k automobile.
When you consider that all core EV tech is decreasing in cost rapidly, very soon you will be talking about $30K vehicles, not $50K. And one must also consider the significantly lower operating costs.

1) Not a small minority.
2) A particularly impactful minority since an apartment dweller is far more likely to buy a fuel efficient vehicle, drive less and mostly drive in urban areas. They are far more likely to buy an EV than somebody who lives with acreage and drives a pickup today.
I don't think the point about how apartment dwellers drive less and in urban areas is really relevant, since with 400+ km of range (a low-end Model 3) and charging at night, there is basically no utility difference between an EV and a gas car as long as you drive less than 400 km in a day, and even people living in the most exurban of places are unlikely to drive that far in a single day unless they are on a road trip.
Also, suburban families with two cars are more likely to get at least one EV imo, because for people that are really concerned about range, having one gas car still allows them to have gas car road trips.

What exactly compels them to add charging stations "quickly"? There's still new buildings being built all over the country and province without charging infrastructure. In 2020.
EVs, like other technology, has an S-curve adoption rate. Adoption starts out slow, then suddenly increases exponentially, then slowly flattens out as it reaches 100%. And, as time moves forward, the S-curves happen faster and faster. See how quickly smartphones took over the market, or digital cameras, or even the car over the horse and carriage. The number of EVs will grow exponentially, not linearly. Charging stations will follow suit, just as how gas stations and computer repair stores popped up everywhere when cars and computers got adopted.

The problem is that a lot of condos don't have a standard NEMA 5-15 outlet at every parking spot. And even installing that would be quite the undertaking in some of the older, larger building garages.

Condo dwellers tend to be sensitive to fee increases. So that critical mass is probably a decade out. You'd have to be at or close to more than 50% of owners wanting such infrastructure installed. And that's assuming, there's no tighter covenants for non-essential special assessments.
This is true, however, I do think the number of buildings that install them will increase quite quickly, due to the S-curve adoption rate mentioned previously.
Besides, even if someone's apartment building doesn't have charging, people can charge at work and at other locations. This is totally sufficient for most people, and it often comes with the advantage of getting the best parking spaces at work. This is quite common in Europe afaik.

You don't need them at service centres today. Because the volume of EVs isn't substantial. But that's not a solution that operates at scale. Imagine what would happen if 10-20% of the traffic went electric and decided to use Hwy 7 between Toronto and Ottawa. I can't imagine the communities en route would be happy at seeing traffic level go up several hundred percent. But yes, at the current growth rates of EV adoption, we're probably a decade away from having charging infrastructure at service centres being relevant.
When 10-20% of the traffic is electric, more charging stations will probably already exist. Otherwise, there would be a supply/demand imbalance, which would naturally get filled.

I can see myself buying an electric car, but I‘ve no interest in car sharing, that’s a taxi by any other name.

I sense a lot of car sharing proponents think that owning a car is a nuisance or financial waste. But no, I enjoy driving, I enjoy cars and like to own my transport. So, while I’ll buy both an electric car and motorcycle, if I want to go somewhere without parking I’ll call a taxi or Uber.
Maybe the case now, but what about when autonomy is solved (which will likely happen in <2-3 years, although regulations may take longer to be updated) and an autonomous electric taxi trip becomes cheaper (or about as cheap as) public transit?
 

north-of-anything

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Could public charging stations be better integrated into existing developments, since they don't have the same ventilation/flammability concerns as gas stations?
 

Admiral Beez

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Maybe the case now, but what about when autonomy is solved (which will likely happen in <2-3 years, although regulations may take longer to be updated) and an autonomous electric taxi trip becomes cheaper (or about as cheap as) public transit?
My Uber or taxi is already autonomous, or self driving. I sit in the back, and that guy in front drives. I don’t see why swapping the guy for a computer disincentivizes me from owning my own car for the joy of actually driving. When did driving become a chore to be outsourced? People must be doing it wrong.
 
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MisterF

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My Uber or taxi is already autonomous, or self driving. I sit in the back, and that guy in front drives. I don’t see why swapping the guy for a computer disincentivizes me from owning my own car for the joy of actually driving. When did driving become a chore to be outsourced? People must be doing it wrong.
Most people are driving cars that aren't exactly known for their driving dynamics. Of course they're doing it wrong. You could say the same for restaurants or fashion or popular music. People prefer quantity over quality. Besides, driving became a chore the minute it was adopted en masse. 99% of driving isn't a solitary joy ride on a twisting country road like car commercials always show. It's fighting traffic in the suburbs.

The biggest expense in an Uber ride is the driver. Eliminate that and it gets a lot cheaper. EVs are longer lasting and cheaper to run than ICE cars, especially for high volume driving, and the cost difference will continue to widen as the technology gets cheaper. So with autonomous electric vehicles the cost of an Uber will be much less than owning a vehicle. If the difference is as big as Tony Seba predicts, that will definitely drive a lot of people to give up car ownership altogether. Car ownership will always exist, it just won't be as dominant as it is today.
 

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