Electric vehicles will reshape the economy: report

Rapid adoption could cause an 11% spike in Canadian electricity demand, requiring utilities to make significant infrastructure investments

Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media reporter based in CalgaryA new report the presence of an estimated 13.2 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 will change Canadian energy demands.

The EY Canadian electric vehicle transition – the difference between evolution and revolution report was released on Monday. It says Canadian sales of electric vehicles grew 165 per cent year over year in 2018.

And EY research shows that rapid adoption – with electric vehicles representing 30 per cent of Canada’s vehicle stock, compared to less than three per cent today – would reduce domestic oil consumption by roughly 252,000 barrels a day. That could trigger convergence of oil and gas and power and utility companies in the marketplace.

“Electric vehicles have the potential to profoundly reshape everything from local transit to global commerce, and Canada’s energy players are not going to be immune from this impact,” said Lance Mortlock, EY Canada’s oil and gas leader, in a news release.

“Companies should be asking themselves not only how quickly EV adoption will unfold, but also whether they’re taking the right strategic steps to prepare for this momentous shift. Now is the time to invest in future-proofing.

“Diversifying portfolios will be crucial for oil and gas companies in a rapid-adoption future. To stay relevant and ensure profitable revenue streams, they’ll need to invest more in clean energy, petrochemical products and access to tidewater to enter new markets.”

The report said rapid adoption could cause an 11 per cent spike in Canadian electricity demand, requiring utilities to make significant investments in existing grid infrastructure to allow consumers to charge cars at home and in public spaces. Distribution network upgrades would also be required to improve power transmission across the country, including to rural areas, it said.

“A dramatic increase in electricity demand would likely result in new power and utilities players coming to market,” said Daniela Carcasole, EY Canada’s power and utilities leader. “This could open up a number of collaboration opportunities for existing companies – either through mergers and acquisitions or joint ventures with hotels, restaurants, technology companies and retail stores to offer easy and convenient vehicle charging to consumers.

“Growing electric vehicle adoption is inevitable. By proactively developing strategic plans that position them strongly for the future, companies can avoid analysis paralysis and turn the challenges of this market inflection point into a significant opportunity.”

Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.

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