Liberals waste money to subsidize electric cars

Electric cars in any measurable number will make the environment worse, not better. The only long-term replacement for petroleum is hydrogen.

  • Electric Cars

The Ontario government has announced more subsidies for electric cars, up to $14,000.

Are they nuts?

Premier Kathleen Wynne said that automobiles produce 35 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions — “more than the iron, steel, cement and chemical industries combined.”

RELATED: Low oil prices take the juice out of electric subsidies

That simply is not true, according to her federal buddies at Environment Canada, who say it’s 11 per cent.

Despite a limitation of $3,000 for electrics costing more than $75,000, (sorry, Tesla fans) most of your taxpayer dollars will still go to rich people for their third or fourth vehicle, because very few regular schlubs can get away with an electric as their only car.

Here are some facts to consider:

  • Two Christmases ago, an ice storm took Toronto out for a week. That’s how robust our current (ho, ho, ho) electrical infrastructure is. Let’s plug half a million battery-powered cars into that every night and see what happens.
  • Gasoline these days is cheaper than water. Ninety cents a litre for unleaded regular at your local self-serve, three bucks for half a litre of water. Remember: ‘Evian’ spelled backwards is ‘naive.’
  • Electric cars in any measurable number will make the environment worse, not better. True, there are no emissions at the tailpipe. But mining of the rare earths needed to make the batteries is devastating, and the recycling of millions of those batteries annually is a problem barely anyone has even thought about.
  • Speaking of rare earths, we’ve had a lot of fun with the name OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) over the past few decades.

Wait until they form OLEC (Organization of Lithium Exporting Countries — OK, I made that up, but mark my words). Lithium is the critical element used in most electric-car batteries.

The two main members of OLEC will be Bolivia and China. Yeah, let’s lock our economy into those two stalwarts of democracy.

  • If electrics are ever going to be a significant part of our fleet, we will need massive amounts of new electricity to recharge their batteries.

Certain people’s fantasies notwithstanding, this won’t come from wind farms or solar panels on your roof. Nuclear is by far the most environmentally friendly option.

Now, Stratford, Ont., wants to be known as more than Justin Bieber’s hometown. I get that. It wants to be known as a “connected city.” Free Wi-Fi for all. I get that, too.

Stratford wants to allow testing of autonomous cars, most of which are electrics. So it seems logical to put the nuclear reactor right next to the Festival Theatre. Lots of room in that nice park by the river.

  • The only long-term replacement for petroleum is hydrogen.

 RELATED: Hydrogen Cars fuelled by WATER!

Solar-powered catalytic crackers convert sea water into hydrogen and oxygen; burn hydrogen and the “exhaust emission” is water. The perfect circle.

When we run out of water and sun, we’re done, anyway. Or we’re all living on Mars with Elon Musk.

Sure, it will cost billions to develop a hydrogen infrastructure. But it will cost billions to build an electric infrastructure that will support millions of electric cars too, and it is obviously doomed to be a short-term solution.

Anything that is done in the interim to support that doomed outcome — like this ridiculous subsidy — is nothing but a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Freelance writer Jim Kenzie is a regular contributor to Wheels. To reach him, email and put his name in the subject line.

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