Affordable Electric Cars not that far away – We need more home grown solutions Canada – Cornwall Ontario – September 8, 2010

Cornwall ON – The war against fossil fuel use is taking some interesting steps; sadly not enough in North America.    While companies like GM are rolling out an electric car priced far out of the range of those who need or would want it most, Asia, or in this case Korea are addressing the real market needs.

Electric cars that are ready to roll for under $20,000 are a reality, but will they get a chance in North America?  These little guys can travel up to 70KM per hour and their batteries generally have enough juice to get a busy city commuter through their day on a single charge.

They aren’t highway cruisers, but where are most of the pollution issues?  Big city traffic for short distances are a perfect fit for vehicles like this.

One example of an initiative in Canada is The Kestral from Alberta.


The car’s body will be made of an impact-resistant composite material produced from mats of hemp, a plant from the cannabis family. The material is being supplied by Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures, a provincial Crown corporation that provides technical services and funding to help commercialize new technologies. The hemp is being grown in Vegreville, Alta.

It’s a true Canadian initiative with the motors being built by a Quebec company.

David Suziki & Faisal Moola recently wrote a story about whether the concept of “Private Automobiles” can survive.


Even in China, it’s not all bad news. Although car culture is growing, the use of electric bikes is exploding. In 2008, people in China bought 21 million e-bikes, compared to 9.4 million autos. China now has 120 million electric bikes on the road, up from about 50,000 a decade ago.

The future is now and we have to make some real choices.   We need government initiatives to support alternatives like this rather than propping up companies that have failed in the auto sector and we need to make sure that these new technologies create more jobs here at home.

What do you think Canada?  You can post your comments below.

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  1. Take a look at ZENN cars, manufactured in ST Jerome. Not a bad deal but our governments yes all of them seem to think these cars are usafe or unfit for our roads.

    Oddly enough the same governemtns do not provide the company with as much R/D support and breaks as they do for the infamous big three.

  2. smart post. I have always enjoyed cars. look forward to another article

  3. I’m gonna stick with my 2002 Mazda Protege for a few more years. My next car/truck will be yet another five or six year old Japanese vehicle. You can blow twenty or thirty Gs on a new North American made car, and it will be toast before it hits 200,000 Km. Previous to the Mazda, I had two Nissan pickup trucks. The ’89 was retired at 468000 Km and the ’92 at closer to 500000 Km. They both ran perfectly ’till the bitter end, but the road salt killed them. I’m an older fart, and have had a car/truck on the road since 1965. My first Japanese car was a ’68 Toyota Corona. It was way beyond anything from England or the US. Remember the Cortina, or Chevette, or Pinto or Firenza? Thankfully most of us never got sucked into buying one of these lemons.

  4. Author

    Hey I had a Ford Pinto and a Chevy Vega 🙂 Of course I had a VW 411 which was the weirdest and wildest vehicle I have had. My favorite car was an Acura Legend. Loved that car until rust did it in. I inherited a granny car, a vintage 92 Mercedes Baby Benz with only 65,000KM, but I’m probably going to trade it in after winter for something more practical as I think the Benz should be put away and saved 🙂

  5. Jamie, If you have a place to store the Benz, wash it really well… underneath too, and soak it with RustCheck or any other oily rust inhibitor. If you store it for about five years, it’ll still be worth about 1/5 of what it’s worth now. Honestly, my advice (for what it’s worth) is to sell/dump the car while it’s still running and before you spend a pile of money keeping it going. Take half the money from car sale, and give it to the preacher, and give the second half to me, and with the third half, buy a nice five or six year old Mazda, or Nissan etc.

  6. Somehow, I never had the pleasure of owning a Pinto or a Vega. Had a couple of early 60s VW Bugs, and believe me, they stank. 36HP, no heater to speak of, and really weak brakes. Still probably better than the Pinto or Vega.

  7. Author

    lol furtz. It has no rust and is running like a clock 🙂 Out of curiosity, why five years? I agree though that a lot of this cars value is the fact that the mileage is so low and original.

  8. I usually go for a five year old car or truck because by then they have a few scratches and dings so they can be had for cheap. If you get something Japanese with around 100000Km on it, you should be good for 3 or 4 hundred thousand Km of pretty much trouble-free driving if you treat it right. Been tempted a few times, but I’ve never bought a new vehicle.

  9. I’m getting no where putting stray cats in halters to pull this old Ford. The letters from the SPCA are also somewhat demoralizing.

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