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We’ve seen the future — and it’s electric

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/ Times Colonist

September 29, 2017 


The world’s largest mining company, a vacuum-cleaner maker and a local automotive journalist have all looked into their crystal balls and seen the same future for electric vehicles.

“I think if we look back in a few years, we would call 2017 the tipping point of electric vehicles,” said Arnoud Balhuizen, head of marketing at BHP, the No. 1 mining company in the world, at a recent event in Singapore.

His company had just revealed plans that would make the company one of the world’s top suppliers of nickel sulphate — a key ingredient in the production of lithium-ion batteries. The batteries form the core component of any electric vehicle.


This week, James Dyson, who owns a company known for its innovative vacuum cleaners, announced that it was investing more than $4.15 billion US to build an electric car slated for delivery in 2020.

He also revealed that a team of 400 engineers has been secretly working on the project since 2015.


Last week, not to be outdone by events around the world, I bought a 2014 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive.

It has been almost four years since my first electric car, a Mitsubishi iMIEV. At that time, electric vehicles were rare and a novelty. People surrounded me at shopping malls, peppering me with questions.


Fast forward to today and you will find few people who have not heard of the electrification of the automobile.

Some manufacturers have taken baby steps with hybrids, such as the Acura MDX Hybrid I reviewed in this week’s main feature, on page E1 and above. Hyundai dove in with gusto, offering both a hybrid and a full electric car in one fell swoop this year.


There have been hiccups along the way. Car2Go pulled its fleet of Smart electric vehicles from San Diego, blaming a lack of public charging stations. Citing dissapointing sales, Mitsubishi gave up entirely, discontinuing the iMIEV. Other manufacturers have reported poor sales, despite heavy investment in the concept.

But manufacturers are coming around to the inevitability that our children, or their children, may one day be driving EVs.


Smart announced that it was discontinuing sales of its internal-combustion-engined cars in North America, offering only electric cars — starting in October. Volvo announced in July that every car it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor. Other manufacturers have indicated that they will be announcing changes in the near future.

They will find ready markets for their products.


China, in a bid to clean up its notorious air pollution, is considering banning gas guzzlers and promoting electric cars instead.


After a hiatus of four years, I plan to once again cover clean-burning vehicles — electric as well as emerging alternatives, such as hydrogen.


There won’t be an article every week — only when there is enough to give you an idea of which way the wind is blowing.

And yes, I will give you a first-hand account of living with an electric vehicle. That way, you won’t have to accost me in a shopping-mall parking lot.



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Interesting article and I really like the red with the darker red tridion.  First time I have seen that color combination.

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