Sep 26, 2022
The 2022 federal budget doubled down on Canada’s commitment to make all light-duty vehicles and passenger truck sales fully electric by 2035, with a considerable amount of money allocated to getting Canadians behind the wheel of an EV. Daniel Breton, President and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada joins us to discuss whether the real concerns about a shift to EVs are being addressed. From pricing models to helping rural, northern First Nations and Inuit communities, there’s still a lot to be done.
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Dan Seguin 00:06
This is thinkenergy, the podcast that helps you better understand the fast changing world of energy through conversations with game changers, industry leaders and influencers. So join me, Dan Seguin and my co host Rebecca Schwartz, as we explore both traditional and unconventional facets of the energy industry. Hey, everyone, welcome back. Are zero emission vehicles the answer to a stronger economy, cleaner air, a healthier environment and good jobs? The Government of Canada certainly thinks so. And they're not the only ones.
Rebecca Schwartz 00:50
EV enthusiast owners, experts and advocates have been mobilizing like never before. They're being driven on a renewed commitment and mandate by the Canadian government to make all light duty vehicle and passenger truck sales fully electric by 2035.
Dan Seguin 01:05
A look at the 2022 Federal Budget shows that considerable money has been earmarked to get more Canadians into the driver's seats of an electric vehicle. According to the government's projections, at least 20% of all new passenger vehicles sold in Canada will be zero emissions by 2026. To give some perspective, last year in 2021, the percentage of zero emission vehicles sold in Canada was 5.2%. That gives five years for the government to reach its targets-doable?
Rebecca Schwartz 01:48
Well, since there's a rising trend in the demand of electric vehicles, many companies have actually gone out of stock. Automobile makers are experiencing a shortage in their EVs, and thus putting customers on waiting lists because of this high demand. Some manufacturers aren't even taking new orders for the foreseeable future because they just can't keep up.
Dan Seguin 02:08
So here's today's big question. Despite the momentum, are the real needs, issues and concerns by EV enthusiasts, owners, experts and advocates being addressed and setting the stage for success?
Rebecca Schwartz 02:25
Our guest today is Daniel Breton, the President and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada, one of the oldest associations dedicated to the electrification of transportation in the world.
Dan Seguin 02:37
Electric Mobility Canada members include vehicle manufacturers, electricity suppliers, universities, tech companies, environmental NGOs, and many more.
Rebecca Schwartz 02:50
Daniel's background includes serving as the ex-Minister of the Environment, Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Parks. He was also the first elected official to oversee a government strategy for the electrification of transportation in Canada in 2012.
Dan Seguin 03:06
Daniel, thank you for joining us on the program today for what's a very busy week for you. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about Electric Mobility Canada, its mandate, and what drove you to the organization?
Daniel Breton 03:25
Well, EMC's mandate, EMC being one of the oldest organizations in the world dedicated to electric mobility. Its mandate is basically to accelerate electric mobility of all sorts. So we're not just talking cars, but we're talking buses, we're talking trucks, we're talking off road, marine. So we have a growing diversified membership. So now we do have bolt makers and bus makers and truck makers and mining companies and research centers and tech companies. So So that's it. So our mission is really to accelerate electric mobility in all forms and shapes. I would say that electric mobility is growing really fast these days around the world. And we also want to make sure that while we want to accelerate electric mobility, to lower greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, we also want to make sure that we create jobs in the process. So to me, we want to make sure that we have an EV supply chain that's made in Canada, and that we don't just end up extracting critical minerals in Canada to send elsewhere in the world like we have done so many times in the past. We want to develop our own industry. And this is happening right now. And, obviously, we do a lot of networking but amongst members, and we have our conference, you know, happening from September 27 to 29th. And we talk a lot to federal government, provincial governments, cities, some of which are members. And you're a member being City of Toronto [Ottawa]. So yeah, so that's what I do on a full time basis. That's what I've been doing for decades, actually. And we have a growing team; growing membership. So we're, it's really exciting, actually.
Dan Seguin 05:33
What's been the most significant event, innovation or policy that you think has changed the future trajectory for mass EV adoption? For the better?
Daniel Breton 05:46
Well, I think there's not one thing in particular, you know, that may have made it possible, I would say that's a growing, or it's a number of things. So obviously, battery technology has evolved quickly, over the past 10, 15, 20 years. Just to give you an example, between 2008 and 2020- volume density of battery has grown eight fold. So when you look at batteries, today, you have, you can have a lot more capacity, and a battery now than you had five years ago, 10 years ago, and it's going to keep growing as time goes by a lot of people seem to think that if you have let's say, a 60 kilowatt hour battery, it's going to be four times the size than a 15 kilowatt hour battery from let's say, 2010. Actually, it's not the case at all. It's just that is has more capacity, and the smaller volume per kilowatt hour, meaning that actually weight has not increased as fast as capacity. So to me, that's very important. The other thing is that infrastructure, infrastructure deployment and infrastructure, evolution has made a big difference. Just to give you an example. 10 years ago, the average electric car had 120 kilometers of range. Now it's 450. So in 10 years, it's quadrupled. At the same time, 10 years ago, if you wanted to charge your electric car, there was hardly any fast chargers on the road. So for example, when I was working in Montreal that I had to go to the National Assembly, I could not buy an electric car, I had to buy a plug in hybrid electric car, because there was no fast charger petrol between Montreal and Quebec. That's 10 years ago. Now, if you go five years ago, a fast charger had a 50 kilowatt charger. So that meant that we went from charging 120 kilometers of range in about four or five hours to charge charging 120 120 kilometers of range in about half an hour. And now with new fast chargers, you know, weighing you know going from 50 kilowatt to 150 kilowatt, 250 kilowatt and even 350 kilowatt, you can charge 120 kilometers of range in 10 minutes. So so things have accelerated regarding the technology of infrastructures as well. Education is making a big difference because more and more people are interested in EVs. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done. I'm often surprised to hear the same questions I was being asked 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago regarding battery life, for instance. But I still do get those questions on social media and even sometimes on regular media.
Rebecca Schwartz 08:55
On the other hand, what do you consider to be the most significant setback or barrier to the mass adoption of electric vehicles? Feel free to speak to Canada in general, and more specifically, right here in Ontario?
Daniel Breton 09:08
I would say it's education and training and supply. So that's the three the three things the three issues the roadblocks, first of all, supply. I mean, most EVs nowadays you have to wait between six months and three years to get your hands on one. So that's a real issue. We are supporting the federal government, and its will to adopt a federal ZEV (Zero-Emission Vehicle) mandate to make sure that we have more and more supply of electric cars across the country, but in Ontario in particular- I don't know if you remember this, but 11 years ago, the federal government and the Ontario government announced joint support for the assembly of the Toyota Rav4 EV. So both of them gave $70 million to assemble the Rav4 electric in Woodstock, Ontario, because there was no regulation no mandate in Ontario or in Canada for that matter, but because there was a mandat in California. And you have to keep in mind that back then there was a rebate of up to $8,500 in Ontario, even with the rebate 100% of these Toyota Rav4 EVs were sent to the US. So you could live two kilometers away from the plant, you could not buy one. So considering that now, the federal government and the Ontario government have invested billions of dollars into the assembly of either vehicles, or batteries, or cathodes or anodes across the country. We think that ZEV mandate is really, really super important for Ontario citizens. Because it would be a shame that we yet again, we would assemble electric vehicles and in Ontario, but because there are ZEV mandates, and 15 US states plus two Canadian provinces, while most if not all, of these electric vehicles assembled in Ontario would be sent elsewhere. So that's the first thing. The other thing is education, there's so much work that needs to be done. I mean, there's so there's so much disinformation or bad information, you know, going around in regular media, I mean, I read regular media on a daily basis about electric vehicles in English Canada, and I'm stunned to see how many bad articles written on electric vehicles. It's really bad. I mean, it used to be like that in Quebec, not so much anymore. There's a lot of work that needs to be done, and training, training for people to work in the auto industry. I did some training last year, for a car manufacturer, whose name I won't mention, but I was surprised to see how little they knew not only about the ecosystem, I mean, the chargers, the apps, the networks, but about their own product. I mean, I was teaching engineers at this manufacturer about their car. So to me, it shows how much work that there is still to do. Regarding the EV ecosystem- I often say when we're talking about electric vehicles, that when someone drives a gas car and wants to go to electric car, it's like saying, I've never owned a boat, I'm going to buy a boat. But there are a lot of different regulations when you are on the water because it's a different world. Well, it's a bit the same when you're talking about electric cars, because there are new things you need to learn about, in particular range, the way you use them on a daily basis. Winter driving, charging, obviously. So yeah, so education and training, I think is super important. And it's a roadblock right now.
Dan Seguin 13:12
Now, Daniel, what is your opinion of the adoption rates so far in Canada, which provinces or territories, or even companies are doing the best job at building an EV movement?
Daniel Breton 13:30
Well, I would say that provinces, obviously BC and Quebec are ahead of the curve. When you look at the Q1 EV sales number for Canada. While in Canada, we were at 7.7%. EV sales, according to Statscan. And BC, they were at 15.5%. So that's twice the national rate. And in Quebec, they were at 12.7%. At the meantime, Ontario was at 5.3%. So that shows that you need to have rebates. I think rebates are important, which you don't have anymore in Ontario, but you have to have mandates as well. Let me give you a perfect example of that. In BC, the rebate is up to $4,000 and Pei and New Brunswick it's $5,000. But because they have no mandate there, they have no supply so their their EV sales are below 5%. So I think it's very important to have both rebates and mandates regarding companies obviously Tesla is driving the charge. I mean, it's obvious. If you look at if if things keep rolling out like we are seeing today, the Tesla Model Y will be the best selling gas or electric vehicle in the world next year. I mean, this is no small feat. But so yeah, so Tesla is making a huge difference Tesla's a member of EMC, by the way, but we are seeing that some Korean manufacturers like Kia and Hyundai, are coming up with very interesting products. And I'm stunned to say this, but I think that the Japanese are being left in the dust, by even the Americans. And this is something I would have never predicted five or 10 years ago, we are seeing that there seems to be a lot of resistance on the part of Japanese manufacturers. And to me being old enough to remember, it looks to me a bit like what I saw in the 80s and the 90s, when the Japanese came really strong to the market, and they left the American manufacturers behind. So I think the Japanese manufacturers, not all of them, but most of them are going to have to wake up because right now they're really lagging behind.
Rebecca Schwartz 15:56
So we recently had Loren McDonald on the show, and he talked about how consumers need to shift the way that they think about EVs. He said that EVs are more like a smartphone that you charge every night and less like a traditional gas car that you head to the pumps for. Do you agree with that? And if you have a story or anecdote that you'd like to share, we'd love to hear it.
Daniel Breton 16:19
So well. I mean, obviously, EVs are becoming more and more like regular vehicles, because if you go back five or 10 years ago, as I mentioned, you know, a regular EV that was not $100,000, EVs had between 120 and 150 kilometers of range. So it was a very different story, then, my girlfriend still drives one of those EVs, I mean, she drives us a Smart Fourtwo electric, it has 100 kilometers of range, it doesn't even have fast charging. So so when she goes on the road, she she's aware of the way that this vehicle behaves, and the range that she can have winter or summer. But keep in mind that most Canadians, most families have more than one car nowadays. So I would say that the first EV, which would be like the family EV, which can be either a car or an SUV, or even a pickup truck is the one that you're going to use when you go traveling when you go on a trip when you go to see the family. And that one is the one that you drive every day because you use it every day. The second one, if you have a second car, it can be a smaller EV, or a plug in hybrid electric vehicle. And, and I always suggest to people not to buy two big cars with two big batteries. I think it's a waste from an economic point of view, and environmental point of view. So, so if you want to talk about anecdotes, I remember when my girlfriend first got her car. I mean, I remember the second or the third night we went to drive in movie. And the range were the range that she had left was about 25 kilometers. And you have to, to plug the vehicle you have to connect to the radio to hear the movie. And she was honestly she was freaking out because she said, I'm not gonna have enough range to go back. We can't watch all of the movie. So we did not we ended up going back home before the end of the movie. It took her was, say, a couple of weeks before she got used to the range of her vehicle. Keep in mind that it doesn't have a lot of range. Now that she knows how the car behaves, she's not stressed anymore. One thing that happens to all of us is at one point we forget to charge a car or to plug the car at night. You know, it happens to us once or twice, but most of the time, then you remember it's like your phone, you know one night you'll come back home, you're tired. You don't plug the phone the next morning say oh my god, I have no, I have no capacity. There's there's no range. So that's the type of thing that you learn from. It happens to you a couple of times and then you know, I would say. What do you think are the biggest social drivers for the recent uptick in EVs? Is it really the high price of gas? Or is it connected to something bigger? I think it's a few things I think first gas prices have made a huge difference. Because people are seeing that there's a really it's really interesting to buy an electric car with those gas prices. But more than that, the fact that there are more and more child choices of different models and shapes of EVs You know with the new F150 lightning coming to market, you know the Kia EV6, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. These are really appealing vehicles. So I think that choice and and price is making a big difference. I mean, I'm sure you saw that but a couple of weeks ago, GM announced that they were coming up with their new Equinox EV starting at $35,000. And I don't know if you know this, but I just saw the price for the base Honda CRV. It's $36,000. So now, if you look at small SUV, electric, small SUV gas. Without the rebate, the small SUV the CRV is even more expensive than the base version of the Equinox EV? So even though people say prices of EV keep going up and up and up. It's not necessarily true. It depends on the model. Yes, some people do want more expensive electric car. But let's be honest here. You know, many people who buy the base model of any vehicle, gas or electric, it doesn't happen. It just doesn't. So I would say that prices of vehicles have gone up way up actually gas or electric. But we are seeing at the same time. So I'm very competitive models in on the EV side, especially from GM and I have to salute them for that.
Dan Seguin 21:29
I've got a follow up question here for you. What are some of the overall benefits as a nation when we reach 100%, EV passenger sales by 2030 and all other vehicles by 2040?
Daniel Breton 21:44
Well, I would say that the first benefit is lower emissions is going to make a hell of a difference. Because you know, a lot of people say that GHG emissions from transportation represent 24% of Canada's total GHG emissions. But that's only downstream emissions. When you add upstream emissions, it's 30%, meaning that transportation is the number one source of GHG emissions in Canada. But that's GHG emissions, so lowering them by I would say 50 to 80%. Because you have to keep in mind that you have GHG emissions from electricity production, although it's getting much better. I mean, the last coal plant is going to close next year in Alberta. And and Nova Scotia intends to go I think it's 80% renewable by 2030. So as time goes by electric vehicles become cleaner and cleaner because the grid is becoming clearer and cleaner. So that's one thing. But the other thing, which is super important, and people seem to forget, is that according to Health Canada, they released a report on the impact of air pollution last year, the economic cost of air pollution is estimated at $120 billion, not millions, billions 120 billion from air pollution. And that's 15,300 premature deaths, which is eight times the death toll of car accidents. So if we bring more electric vehicles on the road, it's going to lower significantly air pollution, whether it's from light duty vehicles, or medium or heavy duty vehicles. So it's going to save billions of dollars to Canadians, help our healthcare system and save 1000s of lives. I mean, this is not insignificant. This is very important. And this is something I think that needs to be said. And last but not least- jobs. I've been talking about this, believe it or not, I've been coming to the House of Commons because from where I am, I can see the House of Commons right here because I'm in Gatineau this morning. I've been I started to talk about the EV industry about 15 or 16 years ago to the federal government saying that we need to transition our automotive sector from gas to electric because that's where the industry is going. So there was really not much of any interest for years. But now the federal government has really caught on I have to salute Minister Champagne for his leadership on this particular issue to make sure to attract EV assembly battery assembly battery manufacturing, critical minerals strategy. So we are seeing a real shift I mean you have to keep in mind that between 2000 and 2020 light duty vehicle production in Canada has been going down and down and down time and time again. We went from fourth biggest manufacturer in the world, to not even be the top 10 in 2020. Now, because the federal government, the Ontario government, the Quebec government and other Canadian governments are investing more and more on the EV supply chain in the EV industry, we are seeing a revival of the automotive sector in Ontario. And to me, this is significant. And if we hadn't done this, there will not be an automotive sector by 2030, or 2035. So this is huge.
Rebecca Schwartz 25:33
Electric Mobility Canada recently launched a 2030 EV action plan with the goal of highlighting how we get to an EV future by 2030. So what is this and what was involved in its creation?
Daniel Breton 25:48
Well, most members of EMC were involved with the creation of the 2030 EV action plan. So it meant, you know, manufacturers, it meant infrastructure providers, utilities, research centers. So I mean, we have a large pool of very qualified experienced people, or either staff or on our board, or our GR Committee on our MHD working group, or battery working group, our utilities working group, so all of these minds come together to say, this is what we recommend for the future of Canada regarding e-mobility. So so yeah, so it was a broad consultation amongst ourselves to see what kind of policies we could put in place to accelerate EV adoption. And I would say that the result has been significant, because we have seen a lot of interest from the federal government, amongst others. Regarding our recommendation, whether it was for- I'll give you an example, at the end of July, I was invited by a Minister Alghabra's Cabinet to be at his announcement for their new medium and heavy duty vehicle incentive program. Because we basically wrote the program, we sent it to them, we had some exchanges, and they said, this does make sense. And we learn from other programs elsewhere in the world or elsewhere in Canada. So I mean, it is significant. We're talking about more than half a billion dollars to accelerate EV adoption regarding any medium and heavy duty vehicles. Obviously, the infrastructure deployment program, almost a billion dollars is something that's going to make a big difference to accelerate EV adoption. This was also part of our recommendation and 2030 action plan. And but we're not stopping there to us that 2030 Action Plan was was an important, I would say, moment and EMCs history. But we are coming up with newer updated revised recommendations, new documents being published. So this is a, you know, this is a work in progress.
Dan Seguin 28:15
Okay, great. We're going to discuss the six pillars of the plan today, which I think covers a lot of the issues and concerns raised by many Canadians. Let's dig into pillar number one, light duty EV; consumer adoption. Some of the highlights under this pillar include price parity, with gas cars, some clever incentive proposal and removing caps for taxis, and ride sharing companies to move fully electric. Can you talk to some of these and what your ultimate goal with this pillar is?
Daniel Breton 28:58
Well, this pillar is to not only encourage EV adoption, but discourage gas guzzler adoption, because we have what we call, you know, the fee based system that we recommend. I've been talking about this for more than 10 years. Because, while people are buying more and more EVs at the same time they're buying more and more light trucks, gas light trucks. And this is an issue because we see that, you know, what most manufacturers offer now is more and more SUVs, pickup trucks and crossovers. So cars are less and less bought by Canadians because there are less and less manufacturers by OEMs. You know, if you go to a Toyota dealer, there's no honda fit anymore. There's no Yaris anymore, but there's more and more of those SUVs. So so for us a fee based system, I think is a recommendation that's important, but it's not an easy one to adopt. We have not seen anyone in North America I'd love the feedback system yet. We it has shown to be very effective in Europe. But it's it's an issue. And you know, in North America and Canada and Canada in particular when one thing that I'm really focusing on is the fact that for us, it doesn't make sense that, you know, car sharing companies, car hauling companies would have a cap of 10 vehicles that can get the federal rebate. Because not only do we want to encourage the transition to EVs, but especially in downtown areas, we want to make sure that if people don't know don't need to buy a car, and they can use a car sharing service, well, they should be encouraged to do so. And the car sharing services should be encouraged to electrify their fleet. So for us, this cap has to go. This is something I've been discussing with people in the federal government. And we are coming up with more data and information, you know, explaining why we need this. Other than that, no, you're we're talking about evey rebate for for used vehicles. This is actually in one of the mandate letters. And it has been in the mandate letters for a number of years now at the federal level, the program has still not been put together. So we are anxiously waiting to see what's going to happen with this. And last but not least, I don't know if you know about this. But in California, there is a particular rebate on top of the regular rebate for low income individuals and families who want to buy an electric car. So we think that this is something important for people who have, you know, we're not as affluent to be able to buy an electric car.
Rebecca Schwartz 31:52
So Daniel in pillar two you discuss medium heavy duty and off road fleet electrification and a number of rebates, tax credits, and offsetting costs for electrical infrastructure. What are some of the key takeaways? And what about the tools and restrictions for large polluters? Can you speak to that a little bit?
Daniel Breton 32:13
Well, I would say that what we are seeing because of this very important announcement from Minister Alghabra, this summer, what we are seeing now is that the main issue or the main challenge is infrastructure. Let's say you are a transit agency, and you want to buy a whole fleet of electric buses, you have to charge them. And the garages that we have in Canada have not been planned this way. So we have to really either adapt them or build new garages. But this is something that can be done. I mean, right now, there's less than 1000 electric buses in Canada, closer to 600. and China, they have more than 600,000 electric buses. And I was I was told a few years ago by someone from a trade transit agency whose name I won't mention that, because in this particular city that this person worked in population density made it harder for them to electrify buses. So I couldn't help but reply that, yes, because China, as we all know, does have a lot of people. So so to me, that was it was not an argument. I mean, if you want to plan this, you'll find a way. I mean, this, you know, there's the saying, you know, if if you want to do it, you find a way if you don't want to do it, you find an excuse. So to me, this is really a challenge regarding, you know, transit fleets, we're talking about trucks. Well, depo charging is going to be very important. But right now, this is not something that's been planned or budgeted in the federal government's programs. So we are looking to try and recommend to the government that we put together a particular program for medium and heavy duty vehicle infrastructure, this is something that we that needs to be done. And regarding off road vehicles, so off road vehicles is a different issue because a lot of people seem to think that if you buy a snowmobile, or Sea-Doo or a side by side, that it's just for fun, but a lot of people work with these snowmobiles and see those and side by side because they work in a park that they work at a ski station, work on a construction site. So keep in mind that our regulars, modern snowmobiles, it pollutes as much talking about air pollution here as 40 modern cars, gas cars. So from an air pollution point of view, it's a big win for people to adopt electric off road vehicles. So that's why we are pushing for that as well. Not to mention the fact that some of the companies making those side by sides and snowmobiles are Canadian companies. So it's not only good for the air pollution, but it's also good for job creation as well. And expertise. I mean, after all, I mean, where else then in Canada, should we have electric snowmobiles to start with I mean, it should be starting here. And it is starting here.
Dan Seguin 35:47
Okay, at least 1/3 of Canadians live in multi unit residential buildings today. Under pillar number three, you go into some details about the national EV infrastructure deployment plan. What are the targets and recommendations you believe are needed when it comes to public charging and making condos and apartments EV ready?
Daniel Breton 36:15
Well, there needs to be some regulation put together either by provinces or cities to accelerate EV adoption and merge, you know, multi unit residential buildings. Actually, I learned just a few days ago that the city of Laval, Quebec has put together an EV ready regulation that says something we are seeing in BC. And this is something we should see across the board across the country. Because it's not just about, you know, incentives for people to install EV chargers in condominiums, because some, some condo owners and all their their syndicate. They simply don't want that they don't allow for that to but to be able to, you know, for people to install them. So we think that there needs to be regulation so that, you know, there should be a right to charge. And this is something very important. We are asking the federal government but other governments as well, to make sure that at least we have at least a million chargers by 2030 across the country. We think it's very important because yes, public charging is key. But let's face it 80 to 90% of charging happens where? At home or at work. So if we have both public chargers and verb chargers and home chargers, this is the only way we're going to be able to reach our targets regarding EV options.
Dan Seguin 37:50
Okay, here's a follow up question for you, Daniel. Where do you see utilities playing a role in the 2030 EV action plan?
Daniel Breton 38:01
They will play a big role. I mean, they have so much to win from EV transition, that it's really surprising that some utilities don't see the interest. I wouldn't say that Canadian utilities don't see the interest, I would say that most of them do. Most utilities in Canada are members of EMC, we have a utilities working group, they are looking at ways to help this transition it both from a technological point of view from a planning point of view, and from a regulatory point of view. So they do play a big role. But I was part of a discussion last year with people in the Ontario government. Because a lot of people in government were saying how much is this infrastructure deployment going to cost? You know, people in Ontario and utilities. And I said, I asked this question to a person from the Federal from the Ontario government. I said them, you know how much it costs you to import oil to make diesel and gas in Ontario on a monthly basis? And that person said no. So I looked at how much Ontario cars and trucks consume on a monthly basis. And I made a calculation that's $60 a barrel, which was lower a year ago, you know, and back then it added up to $1.2 billion a month. So if you take that $1.2 billion a month that just flies out of Ontario because Ontario is not a province that produces oil, and you bring it back in and you put that money into infrastructure and jobs and electricity production from Ontario utilities. It's a lot more money that stays in Ontario $1.2 billion a month is a lot of money. So that means that we, Ontario does have the means to electrify its fleet and to update and yeah, to update its grid.
Rebecca Schwartz 40:10
Next, what are the benefits to the government launching a national 2030, EV strategy and regulation? And why is this so important?
Daniel Breton 40:19
Well, that's something that we are seeing already, you know, with the very important announcement that have been made by Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Champagne, Minister Wilkinson, because keep in mind that when we're talking about create job creation, and and the EV sector, it's not just about car assembly or truck assembly or bus assembly, it's also about infrastructure, manufacturing, you know, whether we're talking about level two chargers, you know, the main sponsor of our e 2022. Conference is Grizzly, which is a company based in Ontario, and they make residential chargers, but they're going to start making public chargers, and they're doing it in a way that's very efficient. So that's show creation as well, where we're talking about construction jobs for those infrastructures, where we're talking about mining jobs, and processing jobs. So there was a report released by the International Energy Agency a few days ago, that said, that stated that right now, in Canada, we are right now about at 50/50 when we're talking about the percentages of job, and fossil fuel versus renewables, and electric mobility, and that's 2022. But we all know that between now and 2030, the number of jobs created, and renewables and green mobility is going to be much higher than in fossil fuels. So this is very important. We're talking job creation, you know, from the whole spectrum. We're going from mining to mobility.
Rebecca Schwartz 42:06
Okay, so a quick follow up for you, though, a couple of items under the fourth pillar that we found to be interesting was the Green SCRAP-IT program and your recommendation to help rural northern First Nations and Inuit communities? Can you briefly talk about those and the rationale?
Daniel Breton 42:26
Well, the Green SCRAP-IT program is inspired by stuff that we are seeing that we have seen in Quebec and BC, because of what we're seeing is that for people who drive older vehicles, whether it's for individual cars, or old buses, for instance, because some of those buses have been on a roll for a long time, and their pollution levels are through the roof. So we want to help either it's companies, individuals, or transit authorities, school boards, to transition to electric vehicles, whether it's, you know, cars, trucks, buses, school buses. But it's a way for us to make sure that we do accelerate the transition, but it regarding individual vehicles, what we are saying is that we should accelerate scrappage program. But what some people are saying in the industry is that should people should, you know, just get rid of the old car and be able to buy a new car, and it could be a gas car. So we don't agree with that. But not only that, when people let's say somebody gets rid of his or her Honda Civic, and decides to buy a brand new Honda CRV, well, air pollution is going to be lower, but GHG emissions is going to be higher because it's a bigger car. And GHG emissions are directly linked to fuel consumption. So it's not because you buy a new car that necessarily it's that good for the environment. So that's why we're saying our SCRAP-IT program should be linked either to the purchase of electric vehicle, but it can also be a transit pass. It can be an electric bike, it can be car sharing service, carpooling service, because, yes, electric mobility is a key ingredient in the solution to lower GHG emissions, or we're talking about transportation, but it's not the only one. So that's why because I've been working at this for decades. I know that we have to also encourage, you know, collective transportation, active transportation, car sharing, carpooling, commute work. All of this is part of solution when we're trying to find not only ways to lower GHG emissions but to lower traffic congestion as well. Regarding First Nations and remote communities, I live in the country. I don't live downtown Montreal for though because we hear that very often, you know, oh yeah, electric cars are only good for those who live in the city and try, you know, a commute around the city. While actually when you look at the Cape, the Quebec data 75% of EV owners in Quebec live outside of Quebec and Montreal, why? For a very simple reason, because they have either a garage or a driveway, it's a lot easier to plug your car, when you have garage or driveway, than when you live in a suburb. I'm sure you know this as well as I do. But for those who live further down, you know, let's say you live in northern Saskatchewan, or in northern Ontario. And you say, well, it's going to be really hard for me to be able to have access to electric car, or to drive the long distances that we need to drive we live in, we live far away? Well, first of all, there seems to be some misconception about the fact that Canada is a big country, and therefore we drive a lot. We do a lot of mileage. That's just not true. Okay? The average driving from Canadians on a daily basis to go to work and back 80% of Canadians drive 60 kilometers or less to go to work and back. So what that means is that, no, it's actually 80 kilometers and back 80 kilometers to go to work and back. So. But this is very important, because most Canadians don't drive that much. I mean, the average driving habits of Canadians from the latest data, which is not new by any means, because the latest data that we found from the federal government was 2009. Believe it or not, this is so outdated, I can't believe it. But anyway, we were at 17,000 kilometers approximately. So 17,000 kilometers, is not that much driving. I mean, I because I travel a lot for my work, I drive more than 50,000 kilometers a year. So having an electric car and driving a lot is no issue. What we need is to make sure that remote communities have access to chargers, fast chargers, in particular, when you get out of the 401, the 417, the 15 the trans Canadian when you go more up north, it is an issue for many regions in Canada, especially when you live in the prairies. I've heard some people, you know, look for chargers didn't know where they were because no one explained to them, where to plug the vehicle, there were only level two chargers. So infrastructure is a real issue. For those who really live, you know, outside are most of the grid, you know, when you live in Nunavut, or Nunavik are, you know, you count the Northwest Territories. There are more and more chargers being deployed, then very often people who live there buy SUVs or pickup trucks. So now that we're seeing more and more SUVs and pickup trucks coming to market, it's becoming less of a challenge, but they do need to get them delivered over there. That's the first thing. The second thing for those who would be, I would say, more anxious about the fact that when it's minus 30 minus 40. You know, you lose up to 50%. And rage, worse comes to worse, you can always buy a plug in hybrid electric vehicle. Mean, meaning that you know, you're going to have some range, especially in the summer. In the winter, not so much. So, but but the truth of the matter is that, you know, I've been driving EVs for I've been driving partial and full EVs for 23 years now. So I know that even at minus 20, I've been going to Saguenay they actually were organized an EV day, and Saguenay in January at minus 25 minus, minus 30. We're 20 of us from Avec. I was with Avec back then we drove all the way up there. And no one had an issue. You just need to have the infrastructure and that's an issue. Right now. In Northern Ontario. It is an issue. And we are seeing that in northern provinces. We're in BC and Quebec I would say.
Dan Seguin 49:07
When it comes to federal leadership with respect to EVs in your sixth and last pillar, what is the government doing right? And what are your recommendations for improvement?
Daniel Breton 49:21
Well, I would say that what the government is doing right for EV adoption at the federal level, is that they are helping more and more departments by EVs. So to me, this is this is key, but we need to install a lot more chargers in federal buildings and federal parking that we have right now. As I mentioned, you know, I'm right across the river from the House of Commons. And I think that I see like less than 10 chargers at the House of Commons. To me this is far from being enough. When I was in Norway in June, we went to a city called Arendal, about 300 kilometers away from Oslo. And it's a small city 40,000 people. And there was an underground parking over there that could accommodate about 150 cars. There were 70 chargers. So, so we have a lot of catching up to do. Let's put it that way. And on that topic, I have to mention this. When I was in government, in in my government plan for the government of Quebec, 10 years ago, we had a plan to electrify ferries. So when we lost our election, you know, the the electrification of ferry fell, you know, in the cracks. When I was in Norway in June, I learned that there's 825 ferries in Norway, eight wto five 825 ferries in Norway. 400 of those 400 of those ferries are already electric. And the largest electric ferry in Norway can accommodate 600 people and 200 cars. So I think that if the Canadian government wanted to electrify its ferry lines, it would be a great opportunity for the marine industry in Canada to develop a new skill and create all you industry actually.
Rebecca Schwartz 51:33
So something that I thought was fascinating in this pillar was the zero emission zone in downtown Ottawa. Can you tell us what that is and why you recommended it or called out Ottawa specifically?
Daniel Breton 51:45
Well, I think it's because it's the symbol. I mean, Ottawa is the capital of Canada. So if we have a zero emission zone in Ottawa, I think it will send a strong signal that people could not drive gas or diesel vehicles in that particular area.
Dan Seguin 52:01
Okay, Daniel, we always end our interviews with some rapid fire questions. And we have a few for you. Are you ready?
Daniel Breton 52:11
Dan Seguin 52:12
Okay. Here's number one. What are you reading right now?
Daniel Breton 52:17
Oh, my God. That's funny, because, you know, I used to read a lot of novels when I was younger. Now all I read is sports. I need that I read battery reports and I need books and I read everything related to electric mobility. The oil industry energy transition. So basically, most of the reading that I do is scientific or economic. That's That's my bedtime reading. Yeah.
Dan Seguin 52:48
Okay. What would you name your boat? If you had one?
Daniel Breton 52:54
I don't have one because I'm an old time windsurfer. So I live, I mean, my house is by the St. Lawrence River. So I windsurf in my backyard. So and I don't intend to have a boat. But I I keep windsurfing. Even though I turned 60 this year. I want to die windsurfing. Want to wind surf until I die. So yeah.
Dan Seguin 53:18
Moving on to the next one who is someone that you admire?
Daniel Breton 53:23
I admire a lot of people. It's hard to tell. Because I mean, so many people that I admire, I mean, believe it or not my I said my girlfriend but my wife because I got to wait three weeks ago. Thanks. She met with the Dalai Lama a few years ago, because she used to be a member of parliament and she was the only Buddhist Member of Parliament. So she met with the Dalai Lama. So that's a person that I really admire. Nelson Mandela, I really admire obviously, being from Quebec and native and you have to keep in mind that there and Ivanka has done a lot. For those who are in Ontario. You know, a lot of people think about independence, but when I think about going to the bank, I think about metal she knew when he was natural resources minister, and, and they held the referendum election of the nationalization of electricity 1962 And that helped propel Hydro Quebec from a small company to one of the biggest forces in the world regarding electricity production, and cleaning, electricity production for that matters. There's not a size and a need Ivanka are really important in my mind, I would say and even though he is controversial, I would say Elon Musk, you know, I mean, he's done so much. And he is such a leader and and you ways of doing things, but I don't always agree with him. But I have to say that when you work in electric mobility, it was what if it was not for him? We will not be there today.
Dan Seguin 55:10
What is the closest thing to real magic that you've witnessed?
Daniel Breton 55:15
That's a good question. Real closest thing to real magic, I would say is that it was the night that I saw an aurora borealis. It's very spectacular.
Dan Seguin 55:28
Okay, let's move on here. What has been the biggest challenge to you personally, since the pandemic began?
Daniel Breton 55:36
To me personally, I mean, a lot of people close to me, I've got COVID, my mother's got COVID, she's been very sick. So many people close to me, either, were really sick. A friend of mine, you know, fell in a coma for almost 20 days. So I thought he was going to die. Another friend of mine, 52 years old, died from COVID. So so this is at, you know, this hit home really hard. For me as see point of view, keep in mind that I started at EMC on March 9 2020. And, and the first thing that I did as CEO of EMC, was to cancel a conference. So my first decision was to cancel a very important event for EMC for its members. And I remember, I cancelled it like March 15, like a week after I had come in. So people were really not sure about what I was doing, because it was this new guy canceling the conference. Is he nuts, but I was just, you know, in front of the curve. So it was complicated for us. Because since I would say that I was pretty much the only one to cancel an event of any big event or conference in 2020. I had a lot of issues with hotels and people that we paid for, because they said, not gonna happen. What you're saying doesn't make sense, these events will happen. We don't want to reimburse you. So we had to fight for months and months to get our money back. Because at one point, everybody came to the conclusion that there was no other way around this. But it was a couple of months that were really very hard. I can tell you that.
Dan Seguin 57:27
We've all been watching a lot of Netflix or TV lately. What's your favorite movie, or show?
Daniel Breton 57:37
Right now? I watched a series called the Casa de Pepe. It's a Spanish TV series. It's super weird, but it's very interesting. And, and the other one that I've been watching recently, because keep in mind that my wife is Vietnamese. So it's a short call, I think career plan or something like that about an Asian woman who was a lawyer. And it's it's served career and it's her path in life. And my girlfriend is a career woman, she has been very successful. So this is something that we watch together.
Rebecca Schwartz 58:17
Okay, lastly, what's exciting you about your industry right now?
Daniel Breton 58:21
Oh, my God. I would say that it's just this- listen, I've been talking about EV and EV adoption and EV industry for decades now. So for for many years, I felt like I was, you know, this nut case, you know, that walks around, you know, the cities, you know, repent. The end is near, you know, I felt like because I was talking about I was talking about, you know, climate change, because I studied and climate change. That's what I studied in when I was in university. So to me at one point around 2005 or so, I said, we have to talk, we have to stop talking only about depressing stuff and start talking about solutions. And that's when in 2005 I said I have to make it a goal of mine to find ways to accelerate EV adoption. That was 17 years ago, I created MCN 21 back then; wrote books on the subject. I've written many books on the subject. But still until five years ago, I mean, there were only a few of us. Now that we are seeing car manufacturers, truck manufacturers, plane manufacturers. You know, jumping and jumping on the bandwagon of electric mobility. It's very exciting. And I mean, I didn't even take a vacation this summer because there was so much job so many consultations, so many reports. So much stuff to do. So at one point I said that to federal employee I said you know oh, well, I mean, I would be nuts to complain, because I have too much work because I've been asking for this for many years. But I would say the most exciting thing is just the vibe. You know, it's just, it's just that. I mean, it's a hot topic nowadays. I mean, just two years ago, because I've been, I've been, I'm well known in Quebec, a lot of people know me, people. I know, people, people know me. I'm all over the media. But in the rest of Canada, it was not such a hot topic to talk about electric mobility until maybe a year ago, two years ago, the most. But now every week, you know, I'm not the only one. But a lot of people now do interviews about electric mobility, electric cars, and the chargers. And some of those articles, as I mentioned, are really bad. But I mean, we are talking more and more about this. So the old excitement, you know about this transition, I think is is is very encouraging. And I know that all of us will have worked for decades to come, because this is only the beginning.
Rebecca Schwartz 1:01:07
All right, Daniel. Well, that's it. We've reached the end of another episode of the thinkenergy podcast. But before we go, if our listeners want to learn more about you and your organization, how can they connect?
Daniel Breton 1:01:19
Well, they can go to our website you know and find a contact. We have a growing growing team now. So we have more and more people working at EMC so they can connect with us. They can send me an email [email protected]. I'm always reachable.
Dan Seguin 1:01:39
Again, Daniel, thank you so much for joining us today. I hope you had a lot of fun. Cheers.
Daniel Breton 1:01:45
Oh, I did. I thanks a lot. Very, very interesting conversation. I really appreciated that.
Dan Seguin 1:01:53
Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the thinkenergy podcast. And don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review wherever you're listening. And to find out more about today's guests or previous episodes, visit thinkenergypodcast.com I hope you will join us again next time as we spark even more conversations about the energy of tomorrow.