Electricity will play an increasingly important role in both public and personal transportation. And Hydro-Québec has what it takes to assist in this transition: clean, renewable energy; a reliable grid; recognized expertise; and promising technologies.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the electrification of personal transportation, which is an essential complement to mass transit./p>
In keeping with its Strategic Plan 2009–2013, Hydro-Québec is running demonstration projects of plug-in vehicles with several automakers. The main goal of the projects is to test electric vehicle (EV) reliability in Québec's climate, find out about drivers' charging habits and gather data on charging needs. Each of these initiatives is described briefly below.
Hydro-Québec tested two prototypes of the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid as part of a three-year North American trial conducted by Ford and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). We are the only Canadian power utility to have taken part in this program.
Hydro-Québec is conducting the largest demonstration project of all-electric vehicles in Canada: testing 30 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs in field conditions in Boucherville, with the cooperation of the city of Boucherville and local businesses.
Hydro-Québec worked with Nissan and Communauto to facilitate the addition of Nissan LEAFs to the Communauto car-sharing fleet. Twenty-five LEAFs have been made available to members in the greater Montréal and Québec areas. This constitutes the largest all-electric car-sharing fleet in Canada. Hydro-Québec provided the charging infrastructure needed for the project.
By the end of 2012, Hydro-Québec will have added some 20 Chevrolet Volts to its fleet. The Volt is an extended range EV.
Hydro-Québec took part in the testing of the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, in conjunction with Université Laval and the Québec government. The testing campaign, which also included trials in urban centres outside Québec, ended in September 2011.
Hydro-Québec, along with the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), is also involved in the Société de transport de Laval's CLIC car-pooling program. For the program, launched in October 2011, 10 groups of four people living in the same neighborhood were formed. Each group has a Volt to drive to a metro station or an electric commuter train station serving Deux-Montagnes. Hydro-Québec provided the charging infrastructure needed for the project.
Together, we are going to experience a whole new way of filling up. Every morning, our cars will be fully charged with clean energy.
More than 80% of our charging needs will be met at home and at work.
For occasional needs, while running errands on the weekend or on longer drives for business or pleasure, The Electric Circuit partners have launched a public charging service.
Hydro-Québec is thus assuming a new role as a supplier of clean energy to run clean cars.
EVs are mostly charged at home or at work, and can be topped up at public charging stations if necessary.
There are three charging options:
Regular 120-V outlets
You simply plug the charging cable provided with all electric vehicles into an ordinary outlet.
It typically takes 7 hours to fully charge a hybrid and 13 hours for an all-electric vehicle.
240-V charging stations
For a quicker charge, you can plug into a 240-V station, either at home or in a public place.
A full charge generally takes 3 to 4 hours for a hybrid and 6 to 8 hours for an all electric vehicle.
The same charging standard applies throughout North America so you don't have to worry when you travel, whether in Québec or elsewhere.
High-power DC fast-charge stations
There are also fast chargers (over 400 V), which allow you to charge your vehicle more quickly.
Hydro-Québec is currently assessing the potential of fast chargers, which are being tested as part of the demonstration project in Boucherville. The deployment of fast chargers in Québec will depend on the results of these tests, which will run until the end of the 2012–2013 winter season, as well as on the purchase price and installation cost of such chargers and on market needs.
Of course. Hydro-Québec would already be able to supply power for a million plug-in vehicles, or 25% of the cars now on Québec roads, without having to make a major investment in the grid. Annual energy consumption in Québec would increase by about 3 terawatthours (TWh). That's equivalent to the output of a midsize generating station like Eastmain-1.
As an indication, the annual consumption of a single EV that travels 18,000 km per year is equivalent to that of a 40-gallon (180-L) water heater.
Running a car on gas is about 9 times more expensive than it would be to run it on electricity.
In fact, the cost of energy per 100 km is $1.24* for an EV, compared with $11.48** for a conventional compact sedan like a Honda Civic (8.2 L/100 km).
* For a car that uses 16 kWh/100 km, charged at home at the residential rate (Rate D) in force on April 1, 2012, taxes included, assuming an annual household consumption of 12,000 kWh for all purposes.
** At the April 2012 average price of regular gas in Québec: $1.40/L, taxes included.
Hydro-Québec set up the first network of public charging stations in Québec and Canada: The Electric Circuit. Launched in spring 2012, this network is the fruit of a partnership with RONA, Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert, METRO and the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT). Since that time, many other organizations have become partners, contributing to the network’s expansion in several regions of Québec.
Charging stations (240 V) are available in the parking lots of several partner locations. A flat fee of $2.50 applies to each charge, regardless of duration.
EV drivers can travel worry free, knowing they can top up their batteries at easy-to-use Electric Circuit stations located in commercial spaces open to the public.
For more information on The Electric Circuit, visit www.theelectriccircuit.com.
Additional chargers will be rolled out gradually as more electric vehicles arrive on the Québec market.
It’s very simple. All you have to do is plug the charging station’s connector into your EV and hold a prepaid card issued by The Electric Circuit in front of the scanner. An indicator light turns on when charging begins.
To use a charging station, you must first obtain a prepaid card from The Electric Circuit. You can order one online at www.theelectriccircuit.com (click on the ‘Becoming a customer’ tab). When you receive your card in the mail, go back to the Web site and use a credit card to prepay any amount you wish. A flat fee of $2.50 will be deducted from your card each time you use a charging station, regardless of duration.
Yes. A map of charging stations is available at www.theelectriccircuit.com.
In addition to the online station-finding service, Electric Circuit users can take advantage of a 24/7 telephone help line run by CAA-Québec.
A number of North American and European companies sell EV charging stations. Hydro-Québec has tested various models and does business with several companies. One of our suppliers, Québec-based AddÉnergie, is involved in the Boucherville demonstration project being carried out in partnership with Mitsubishi. Its stations are also being used by the Communauto car-sharing organization, under a partnership with Hydro-Québec, to recharge its Nissan LEAFs.
In April 2011, the Québec government released an EV action plan for the 2011–2020 period. It includes several incentives, including a rebate on the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle as of January 1, 2012.
|All-electrics (all-electrics) and hybrids with minimum 4-kWh battery (e.g., Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt)||$5,000 – $8,000||$4,500 – $8,000||$3,000 – $4,000||$2,000 – $3,000|
|Hybrids (e.g., Toyota Prius, Honda Civic)||$1,000||$500||—||—|
In 2012, for instance, the rebate amounts to $5,000 for an EV with a 4-kWh battery and increases with each extra kilowatthour, up to a ceiling of $8,000.
Another rebate applies to charging stations. It is equal to 50% of the total cost of purchasing and installing a plug-in station, up to a ceiling of $1,000 in 2012 and 2013. The ceiling will be lowered to $800 in 2014 and to $600 in 2015.
For more information on the Québec government’s EV incentives, visit www.vehiculeselectriques.gouv.qc.ca.
Hydro-Québec employs a variety of means to reduce the energy consumption of its auto fleet, such as using a growing number of hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles.
In recent years, we have also conducted trials with several experimental plug-in vehicles to determine how they handle in various conditions or to test components we have developed.
Several of the big automakers now offer mass-production plug-in vehicles. Hydro-Québec is currently in the process of adding some 20 Chevrolet Volts to its fleet.
The scientists at Hydro-Québec's research institute, IREQ, are world-renowned for their work on advanced materials such as lithium iron phosphate, ionic liquids (molten salts) and nanotitanates, which are enhancing EV battery performance and safety while also being environmentally friendly. Large North American, European and Asian companies produce and market the materials developed in IREQ’s labs.
In addition, Hydro-Québec subsidiary TM4 markets electric motor systems now used by various automakers.
The transportation sector is the main source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Québec. Transportation electrification will therefore have a significant positive impact on our environment.
If a million gas-fueled cars in Québec, or 25% of those now in operation, were replaced with electric cars, GHG emissions would be slashed by some 3.4 million t per year.
By 2020, the Québec government aims to reduce GHG emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels.
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