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EVs Are EVerywhere

Last updated 2018.01.14

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

[Link has bit-rotted:] ISE Corp Aircraft Push-out Tractor

Airport People Movers - see Personnel Carriers

Baggage Trains and Loaders

Electric Tractor Corporation Electric Ox

Burden Carriers

Car Pushers



Milk Floats

Earth Movers




Golf Carts

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.

Club Car




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, and electric models have been available from major manufacturers since the early 2000s. These electric-powered units are available from the major manufacturers, Zamboni ( Model 552) and Resurfice, maker of the Olympia line, including at least 3 models. Zamboni introduced its first electric unit in 1960. [Link has bit-rotted:] 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.

Mining Equipment


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.

Pallet Movers


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
Canadian Light Rail Systems
Canadian Street Railways (Streetcar Lines)
Electric Lines in Southern Ontario

Bullet Trains


The GG-1 was a pure-electric locomotive developed by the General Electric Company for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PPR). Some 139 of these were built between 1934 and 1943. These engines kept running through the merger of PRR into Penn Central and then into Amtrak. The last of the GG-1 locomotives was retired from service in 1983. The GG-1, like most electric locomotives was powered from the grid.

Hungarian Electric Locomotives

Milwaukee Road System


Tumbler Ridge

A branch line operated in the Rocky Mountains by B.C.Rail, electric locomotives were chosen for use here because of a long tunnel in the route. It was more cost effective to use the pollution-free locomotive than to provide sufficient ventilation in the tunnel to accommodate the poisonous exhaust of a diesel-electric locomotive. These locomotives began operation in the early 1980's.

There have been battery-powered trains as well.

Ontario Southern Railroad

Personnel Carriers

American Continental

Street Cars

Canadian Street Railways (Streetcar Lines)
Electric Lines in Southern Ontario



Canadian Subways

Trains - see Railways

Trolley Buses / Trolley Cars

Canadian Electric Trolley Buses

Wheelchairs and Mobility Aids

When you look at this variety of electric transportation solutions, it appears that perhaps it is the internal combustion engine that has captured a niche market - the transportation of people and goods in applications where their poisonous emissions can be easily dispersed into the atmosphere, where we breathe.

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