Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Filler' Up - Coal or Nuclear?

If I decide to ever buy another car I thought it might be an electric one like the Zenn (Zero Emission Zero Noise) vehicle. They don't spew any exhaust, take up less space and are completely silent. Switching to vehicles like these would have profound effects on life in a city like Toronto. But wide scale adoption of these could lead to some unintended results. Remember the massive blackout during the summer of 2003? It was possible because every summer our air conditioners overextend the capacity of our electricity suppliers. Population growth coupled with a booming economy means that electricity supply problems will get worse not better.

So what would happen if a significant number of drivers switched to electric cars? Our current power delivery systems would become swamped. Whenever we need to buy more electric power on the open market our suppliers tend to purchase it from US sources which are almost all derived from burning coal. These cars would in effect be be powered by coal. One way around this would be to do as the French do and invest in new nuclear plants but then these cars would ultimately run on nuclear energy and a lot of people can't come around to supporting Nuclear energy.

No matter how you slice it there will need to be massive reductions in everyday power consumption if innovations like the Zenn car are going to be effectively adopted. So maybe hybrid is still a better choice. It's too bad because I had my eye on this electric car below which is made by Tesla Motors.

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