Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Transport Canada rules finish off electric car

with one comment

Vancouver Sun

After years of dithering, Transport Canada has now reversed its earlier decisions and has refused to certify electric low speed vehicles as safe for the road.

The timing is appalling. Canada now has an international reputation second only to the US at holding up progress towards a new greenhouse gas emissions treaty. While oil is slightly cheaper now than a few weeks ago, most observers agree that this is a temporary respite. The market demand for vehicles which meet basic daily needs but are cheap to operate and do not produce any emissions has never been stronger.

Other electric vehicles are going to come on to the market in the near future, but Canada’s lead has been thrown away by a mixture of bureaucratic ineptitude and political failure. Of course low speed electric vehicles are only a part of the solution. But right now our lack of progress in tackling one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas is frightening, and anything that promises some progress should be encouraged.

Indeed, in the great oil crunch of the 1970s, the first response of governments was to impose lower speed limits – just to conserve gas. The fact that it also reduced air pollution and saved many lives was simply incidental. BC, of course, refuses to even consider any kind of effective speed limit enforcement even though it is clear that is essential to reduce the death toll on the Patullo Bridge – and no doubt many other locations where the current policy is to widen and straighten roads – which simply encourages higher speeds.

in Canada, the federal government and the provinces are taking a very conservative approach. That recently caught the eye of the British magazine the Economist, which wryly noted: “In these times of high gas prices and worries about climate change, you might think that any country would be proud to enjoy a lead in manufacturing electric cars.

“Not Canada, it seems.”

Would that be a variation on the old British saw, “No innovation, please, we’re Canadian”?

Written by Stephen Rees

July 27, 2008 at 10:25 am

Posted in Transportation

One Response

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  1. I dunno, seems like if BC would still allow them, then TC has no direct power to restrict them?

    “Transport Canada, which has allowed low-speed electric vehicles since 2000, recommended a few months ago that the use of such vehicles be restricted to gated communities and campuses, department spokeswoman Maryse Durette said Tuesday. She said this is due to the low safety requirements for such vehicles. The only such requirements are that they have an identification number, seatbelts (but not necessarily seatbelt anchors), a windshield, headlights and a maximum speed capability of 40 km/h.

    However, Durette said it was only a recommendation: provinces and territories have the authority to decide what is allowed on their roads.”


    July 27, 2008 at 11:05 am

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