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EVs Are EVerywhere
Last updated 2009.11.20
One question frequently heard from detractors of quiet, pollution-free electric vehicles is, "If electric vehicles are so great, why aren't more of them already in use?" In fact, electric transportation is so common, we often don't even recognize it when it is right in front of us. Consider the following examples where electric power is a major, or even the dominant, power source for the application. While the numbers of on-road electric vehicles is still small, they are real.
Aircraft Tow Tractors
Airport People Movers - see Personnel Carriers
Baggage Trains and Loaders
Golf carts are actually a fairly recent innovation, a post-World War II North American phenomenon. Their naissance seems linked with some specialized personnel and equipment carriers intended for industrial indoor use.
Ice Resurfacing Equipment
Studies in Canada, the United States and Finland show that skaters suffer respiratory health effects as a result of the emissions from propane or gasoline powered ice resurfacing equipment in indoor arenas. The obvious solution is a zero-emissions ice resurfacing machine. These electric-powered units are available from the major manufacturers, Zamboni ( Model 552) and Resurfice, maker of the Olympia line, including the Cellect. Zamboni introduced its first electric unit in 1960. MG Service, a company based in L'Assomption, Quebec have produced a kit to convert gasoline or propane powered ice resurfacers to electric power. There is a rink in Truro, Nova Scotia that has converted a tractor to electric power to pull a Zamboni ice resurfacer unit.
I had the opportunity to ride the all-electric Las Vegas monorail system in February 2009. This is a sweet operation. Quiet, efficient, doesnt't break up neighbourhoods or interfere with existing surface traffic because of its elevated design. It could be better integrated with nearby buildings to reduce the amount of up and down pedestrian traffic to access and exit the system. However, being fully automated (no drivers), operating costs should be very attractive.
The majority of locomotives in regular commercial operation today are called diesel-powered, yet many people don't realize that the power that actually turns the wheels on the "diesel" locomotive is electric. That's right - electric motors actually power those huge trains; the diesel engines are used to turn generators which supply the electricity to the electric motors. The locomotives that are not "diesel-powered" are usually pure-electric.
Canadian Inter-urban Electric Railways