In September 2023, a Toronto real estate company banned the use of EVs on their properties continuing an ongoing debate about the future safety of lithium-ion batteries. The ban is in response to the perceived risk of fire hazards that the lithium-ion batteries in EVs could pose. While lithium-ion batteries are frequently used in consumer electronics, the batteries in EVs are often more prone to damage due to potential collision risks. Under the Residential Tenancies Act, renters at the affected buildings may be able to push back against the ban as it could infringe on their right to the “reasonable enjoyment” of the premises. Individuals who rely on electric vehicles due to health or mobility issues may also be able to challenge the ban as infringing on their human rights.
MANITOBA SPARKS PLANS
The new Democratic Party (NDP) was sworn into power in Manitoba, giving the province a new premier-elect and a new focus on electric vehicle adoption. The NDP’s eight-part plan includes a platform dedicated to the environment. Within this platform, electric and decarbonizing transportation account for 30 percent of the 15 priority items highlighted. Vehicle registration data from Statistic Canada shows Manitoba added 391 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the first half of 2023. Since Q1 2017, just 1,912 BEVs have been registered in Manitoba. The NDP’s EV platform goals include: move transit busses off diesel by building more electric transit busses; providing rebates for new and used EVs and plug-in hybrids; build more charging stations; build a clean energy hub to make sure Manitoba is at the forefront of the clean energy economy through a hydrogen-focused advantage; and focus on creating new jobs in electric manufacturing. While it remains to be seen how Manitoba will build on these plans, the province does have 29 of the 31 key battery minerals necessary in building electric vehicle batteries.
In a recently released patent filed by Toyota, the automaker has revealed its intention to design EVs with the capacity to stall in order to capture a “real” driving experience. Toyota has long-since declared its desire to simulate a manual transmission in its fully electric vehicles with a shifter and clutch pedal. In addition to the manual transmission, the patent also states that Toyota’s Evs will have a simulated tachometer and “idle speed.” If a driver drops below this “idle speed,” the EV’s inverter will instantly set the electric motor’s torque to zero simulating a stalling sensation with the vehicle receiving no more tractive power. Moreover, the entire “MT” mode can be shut off in favour of regular EV driving if desired, and the car will sense if it’s in a situation where stalling would be potentially dangerous (such as on a hill with traffic).
A recent study made by Visual Capitalist using data from Benchmark Materials shows calculations for the replacement costs of different battery types in six existing and upcoming EVs. According to the study, many upcoming EVs that fall into SUV and pickup truck categories also have heavy batteries for extended driving range, and this means that they have higher costs. Comparatively, the study shows that lithium iron phosphate batteries and other lithium-based batteries are most cost effective. For example, the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E has an approximate cost of $9,400 CAD, which is still 16 percent of the vehicle’s total pricing, but a much cheaper overall price tag. Despite these high costs, the good news is that EV high-voltage batteries typically have a long life-cycle. Some EV batteries can even last over 400,000 km.