EVs - a Canadian Perspective

Last updated 2003.01.14

There seems to be a widespread impression that there is little EV activity in Canada, perhaps associated with that other myth that electric cars don't work in the cold. Well, that just is not the case, and here is some of the proof. (This page will be updated as information is provided and time permits.)

Current Canadian EV-related Activity

Aerotek | Azure Dynamics | Ballard | Bombardier | Canadian EV's | CEVEQ | Chrysler | Concordia | Electra Marine | Electric Tractor | Electrofuel | Flywheel Energy Systems | Glazier | Hydro Quebec | Ken Norwick's Saturn Conversion Site | Ker-Train | Norvik | Ottawa Hydro | SESCI | Solartech | SpinCraft | U. of Ottawa | Zero Ryder | Past Activity


Aerotek produces the Formula IV 4-wheeler personal mobility vehicle in the Ottawa area.

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Azure Dynamics

Azure Dyamics has built a prototype hybrid (gasoline-electric) delivery van.

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Ballard Fuel Cells in British Columbia is working with Mercedes on developing a fuel-cell powered electric vehicle. Ballard has also developed a prototype fuel-cell powered electric bus. Ballard can be contacted at:
Ballard Power Systems Inc.
9000 Glenlyon Parkway
Burnaby, British Columbia V5J 5J9
Phone: (604) 454-0900
Fax: (604) 412-4700

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Bombardier is producing the neighbourhood electric vehicle (NEV).
MONTREAL, July 8, 1996 (Reuter) - Bombardier Inc unveiled on Monday a prototype of its two-seat Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) and said it will make a final decision this fall on the vehicle's commercial future.

The NEV runs on an electric motor fed by rechargeable lead batteries that can be recharged by connection to a typical residential 110-volt electrical outlet. The monococque vehicle weighs 580 kilograms, has a range of 40 to 60 kilometers and reaches a maximum speed of 40 kilometers an hour.

Test programs and market studies on the vehicle are under way. The NEV was developed mainly to meet the needs of retirees living in U.S. master plan communities where automobile circulation is restricted, Bombardier said.

Bombardier said the primary market was particularly promising in California, Arizona and Florida, where regulations allow golf carts and neighborhood vehicles to circulate on public roads.

According to preliminary estimates, the NEV could cost between US$6,500 and US$7,000, the company said. It could also be used at university campuses, airports, public parks and and golf courses, Bombardier said.

-- Reuters Montreal bureau (514) 985-2434 14:23 07-08-96

The Bombardier NEV Web page provides more information on this vehicle including a Virtual Showroom and Dealer Locator.

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Canadian Electric Vehicles Ltd

Canadian Electric Vehicles Ltd. in British Columbia converts vehicles to electric power, including cars, trucks and a houseboat.

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CEVEQ (Centre d'experimentation des véhicules électriques du Québec) has a demonstration project of up to 20 EVs running in St.-Jerome, Quebec.

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The Chrysler EPIC electric minivan will be built in Canada beginning in 1997, even though the vehicle will not be available in Canada for lease or purchase. This vehicle was officially unveiled by Chrysler in December 1997.

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Concordia is working on a hybrid vehicle project. See Concordia Future Car for more information.

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Electra Marine

Electra Marine produces fibreglass electric-powered boats including the Electra Cat 185 - a catamaran 18'2" long and 8'6" abeam and the Electra 180 - a monohull that is 17'10" long and 6'6" abeam. Both use 48-volt systems and boast a top speed of 15 km/h. Electra Marine is located in Grand-Mère Quebec.

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Electric Tractor Corporation

Electric Tractor Corporation is producing two electric lawn tractors, sort of a 90's version of the Elec-Trak, in Oakville, Ontario. The model 9620 uses a joystick control, with rear steering for very tight cornering and precise maneuvering. The model 9718 uses a more conventional layout.

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Based in the Toronto area, Electrofuel works in the area of advanced batteries. While the voracious market for laptop batteries has been their focus, their technologies could be scaled up to vehicle size in the future.

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Flywheel Energy Systems Inc.

Flywheel Energy Systems Inc. was formed in 1993 to develop commercial products based upon flywheels for energy storage. The company believes a natural application for this technology is EVs. The company can be contacted at:
Dean Flanagan, Flywheel Energy Systems Inc., 25C Northside Road, Nepean, Ontario, Canada, K2H 8S1;
or via e-mail at fesi@magma.ca

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Glazier Transmission

Bill Glazier is working on a continuously variable transmission which is being mounted in an Enfield electric car in British Columbia.

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Hydro Quebec

Hydro Quebec is supporting EV demonstration programs, development of in-wheel motors and battery development.
MONTREAL, March 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Hydro-Quebec, through its subsidiary, ARGO-Tech Productions Inc., announced today an $8.3M (CDN) investment to increase the capacity of its Lithium Polymer Battery (LPB) pilot plant in Boucherville (Que.) for the production of electric vehicle battery prototypes. The announcement was made by Mr. Andre Caille, President and CEO of Hydro- Quebec. ARGO-Tech expects to complete expansion this fall and to be fully operational in the first quarter of 1998. This advanced battery pilot plant facility will employ about 40 highly specialized personnel.

ARGO-Tech Productions Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec, was formed in 1994 to assemble LPB prototypes for the Hydro-Quebec/3M partnership under an initial contract awarded by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC). As a result of this investment, ARGO-Tech will increase its production capacity to meet electric vehicle battery needs in order to conduct extensive road tests during the next five years. The HQ/3M partnership will rely on this additional production capacity to also sample other markets, such as large back-up-power systems for telecommunications networks. As an example, ARGO-Tech will have the required capacity to assemble annually 50 battery packs of about 30 kWh. The pilot plant will enable ARGO-Tech to thoroughly establish manufacturing processes and costs essential for the design of a large-scale production facility.

The Boucherville plant will manufacture modules and batteries including metallic lithium foil anodes. 3M will continue to ensure an adequate supply of coated polymer materials for LPB production.

Hydro-Quebec LPB technology development strategy is based on industrial partnership with leading worldwide companies, such as 3M and Yuasa, a Japanese battery manufacturer. The partnership with 3M was initiated in 1993 in conjunction with contract awards for LPB development from the USABC. This partnership brings together 3M's technological expertise in high volume polymer film processing and Hydro-Quebec's leading expertise in lithium polymer battery development.

SOURCE Hydro-Quebec CO: Hydro-Quebec; ARGO-Tech Productions Inc.

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Ken Norwick's Saturn Conversion Site

Over 200 pages describing a complete electric vehicle conversion project. Hundreds of images document the process in complete detail. This site receives visitors from between 8 to 16 time zones per day. The largest personal EV Conversion Diary on the Internet today.

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There is work being done on Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs) by Ker-Train in the Kingston, ON area,.

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Norvik Technologies

Norvik Technologies (Mississauga ON) continues to work with Chrysler on the development of fast chargers for electric cars.

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SESCI - Canadian Solar Discovery Challenge

Solar cars are electric cars. SESCI (the Solar Energy Society of Canada, Inc.) sponsored the 1996 Canadian Solar Discovery Challenge for solar cars. See the [A HREF="http://www.newenergy.org/newenergy/csdc.html"]Canadian Solar Discovery Challenge Web Site [dead link] for more information.

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Solartech produces the Can-PULSE battery charger that reverses sulfation in lead-acid batteries.

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SpinCraft Electric Boats produces electric boats in Gloucester, Ontario.

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University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa not only races the RALOS II solar car, Professor Flannigan of U of O also did research on high-energy flywheel systems, including fibre-composite flywheels, until 1993 when he set up Flywheel Energy Systems Inc.

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Zero Ryder

CIG produces the [A HREF="http://www.angelfire.com/la/charriere/"]Zero Ryder [dead link] , an enclosed ultra-light single-seater human-powered vehicle with a hybrid-electric drive option.

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Past Canadian EV-related Activity

B.C. Hydro purchased a Battronic van in 1974, and two Enfield electric cars. All were later sold off.

Calgary City Power purchased an Otis van in 1976. Current disposition unknown.

Saskatchewan Power purchased an Electrek sedan in 1981, but it saw little use, and is now in a museum in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba Hydro purchased and EFP Silver Volt in 1973, but sold it off shortly thereafter. In 1975, they took delivery of seven EVA Metro sedans, which were operated for a couple of years (3 by the City of Winnipeg, 1 by Manitoba Telephone System and the remaining 3 by provincial government officials, including then premier Ed Schreyer) before they were disposed of by donation and at auction. Two were donated to the University of Manitoba, and the five auctioned off ended up in the hands of 5 private individuals.

The Canadian Post Office purchased 5 Gould DJ-5E electric jeeps for mail delivery, which were distributed to 5 different sites for evaluation.

The Department of National Defence, while converting hundreds of vehicles to run on propane or compressed natural gas as alternative fuel measures, purchased two Marathon C-300 electric cars, a Battronic electric stepvan and a Battronic electric shuttle bus and two Jet Industries Model 600 Electravans (Subaru conversions).

Ontario Hydro purchased approximately a dozen electric vehicles in the late 1970's, generally one each of several different available models. Having one of each type compounded maintenance issues, and the project was closed down in the 1980's. The vehicles were disposed of by tender, and most went to an automotive wrecking yard for parts.

Ottawa Hydro had a Griffon van with a NiCad battery pack, but have since sold it off. The utility was renamed to Hydro Ottawa in 2001 when it was merged with several other local municipal hydro companies as a result of the amalgamation of the cities in the Ottawa area into a "super-city".

Hydro Quebec purchased an Otis van and a Battronic minivan for research into cold weather operation of EVs In the mid-1970's.

Marathon Electric Vehicles of Montreal built electric and hybrid cars and vans in the 1970s. The Briggs & Stratton Hybrid which got a signficant amount of media coverage in the late 1970s was based on the Marathon C-360 chassis and drive-train.

Magna produced the G-Van, a conversion of a GM full-size van with an all-electric drive-train. Approximately 20 of these vehicles saw service in the Ottawa area courtesy of ESTCO, until 1996.

Renault 5 (Le Car) gliders (body shell without engine) were assembled in Canada and shipped to Massachusetts for conversion to electric power by U.S. Electricar in the 1970's and early 1980's. The converted cars were called Lectric Leopards.

Alcan Aluminum spend considerable effort on the development of the aluminum-air primary battery system, the rights to which have since been sold to Yardney in Connecticut.




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