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Public and private sectors are pushing electric vehicles, but are consumers interested?


January 19, 2012
By Anthony Capkun

January 19, 2012 – Various polls show Canadian drivers’ attitude toward electric vehicles is changing in a favourable way. EV-related vendors, auto manufacturers and all levels of government are making a collective effort to demonstrate the benefits of EVs to consumers: reduced emissions; convenience of home charging; cushioning from fuel price volatility; and long-term cost savings. However, the extent to which attitude change can be translated to actual sales is a different question.

Paul Scott, a founding board member of Plug-In America, responds to consumer worries regarding the lack of public charging stations: “Adequate infrastructure does exist for most people. Anyone with a single-family home has a power source that can easily be used for nearly 100% of their driving”. Undoubtedly, one of the hardest aspects of consumer education is convincing drivers they don’t actually drive as much as they think.

These kinds of issues are being discussed all over the world by private sector senior executives and government leaders. But on February 22-23, Toronto will host its own senior-level conference on electric vehicles and what must be done to encourage their rapid adoption: The Electric Vehicle & Infrastructure Summit. And Electrical Business and Energy Manager are proud media supporters.

“We are at a crucial time when market acceptance of this new technology will depend on the ability of leaders to work together across sectors in support of infrastructure developments,” says Andrew Bowerbank, an authority on sustainable development and low-carbon economics. “Consumers need to have confidence that EVs are the next big wave. Summits like this provide the much-needed forums for leaders to meet, share ideas and discuss issues in support of market transformation.”

The Electric Vehicle & Infrastructure Summit will be attended by provincial ministries, federal agencies, utilities, energy regulators and vendors showcasing innovative EV technologies. For the full agenda, speaker roster and venue specifics, visit evehiclesummit.com.