The shift to electric cars: Are we there yet?

2 Comments

This is an excellent piece by Rene Bruemmer in today’s Montreal Gazette. Most people don’t realize the vast benefits of going all, or partially, electric. The Quebec government grant is significant and we have the lowest hydro electric costs in North America.

It’s been two years since I switched to an EV. My Chevrolet Volt, with an average 85 KM per charge covers all of my city driving needs and most of my highway journeys to the Laurentians. Beyond that, if I was to drive to Toronto, New York or Boston, I have no range anxiety as my gas engine charges my battery extending my range well over 500 KMs.

I plug in to a regular outlet in my garage every few nights to top up my battery for literally pennies a night as I rarely need a full charge. Our Volt, which we affectionately nicknamed “Evie”, quickly moved from second vehicle status to the primary position. We doubled our expected annual mileage thereby speeding up our return on investment for the up front added cost.

We feel good about doing our part for the environment, love the quiet roll of the car, the instant power of the electric motor, the ease of charging and paying for cheap, home-grown, clean energy and especially rolling silently past the gas stations with their $1.40 per litre signs.

Are you there yet?

 

Source: The shift to electric cars: Are we there yet?

My brand new 2017 Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle

Advertisements

Leaf blowers are a menace to our quiet, suburban neighbourhoods: Beaconsfield council to vote to restrict the use of leaf blowers

2 Comments

Leaf blowers are a menace to our quiet, suburban neighbourhoods.

They are polluting our cities, spewing toxins, dust and noise from their wailing motors.

Rather than depositing fallen leaves into our environmental, government-mandated composters, these aggravating agitators blast nature’s fallen foliage into our streets and across our sidewalks only to be blown back by gusts of wind onto the next lawn over. Even worse, our soon-to-be clogged city catch-basins and drains will require even noisier and more-polluting over-sized vacuum vehicles on scene. We’re paying the price.

But we don’t have to pay such a heavy price. City Councils, near and far, should give consideration to this wise decision by our neighbours in Beaconsfield.

Of course, gardeners will spend more time collecting and depositing leaves, grass clippings and the like. However, the cost will not only balance out in less need for municipal crews and equipment but we will reap the immediate benefit of healthier, more tranquil places that we wanted when we moved to the neighbourhood.

 

Source: Beaconsfield council to vote to restrict the use of leaf blowers

Quebec is ripe for a surge of electric mobility

Leave a comment

I was fortunate to have been invited to partake in the recent Movin’ On by Michelin world summit in sustainable mobility. Thousands of people gathered from over 60 countries to participate in workshops, conferences and keynote addresses. There were tests of virtually everything electric on two, three, four wheels and more. A Who’s Who of business, political leaders, social movers and shakers and keen enthusiasts from around the globe gathered in Montreal for the second annual congress.

The case for electrification is compelling, and it goes far beyond EVs.

The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is just beginning and with automakers and other countries making significant commitments to phase out conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, the future for EVs is bright. But electrification of transportation (e-mobility) goes well beyond passenger vehicles to include fleet vehicles (cars and trucks), mass transit buses, light rail, ships and even non-road vehicles like forklifts.

The rationale is simple: electric vehicles have lower cost of ownership than their conventionally powered peers, they emit less pollution, and they enable emerging mobility technologies and business models.

While EVs are currently in the “early adopter” phase of the product lifecycle, they hold tremendous potential.  As of 2017, EV sales in Canada have increased by 68% and there are approximately 50, 000 plug-in vehicles currently on Canadian roads.  New sales records are consistently being broken each year as the idea of green transportation gains national momentum.

100% electric motorboats on the Lachine Canal

The power grid represents the foundation for a ubiquitous “refueling” infrastructure for e-mobility, and it is capable of supporting many more vehicles than it currently does.  British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario are the three Canadian provinces with the highest number of Electric Vehicles.

Hydro- Québec calculated that it could incorporate a million EV’s into the system without having to make any big changes to the infrastructure.

Although Quebec has a goal of seeing 100,000 EVs on the road by 2020 I think they’ll fall short unless EV prices begin to drop, the price of gas shoots up or tye government increases its incentives as Ontario did last year.

100% electric police motorcycle

Meanwhile, the Quebec government could easily require all of its departments, agencies and institutions to install free charging stations as another important encouragement for employees to make the purchase.

Much discussion centred around green, smart cities and better quality of life because of sustainable mobility. The goal is to build attractive, livable, walkable, sustainable ‘villages’ with connected mobility hubs; Mixed-use communities where people love to live, work, learn, heal and play.

The Lion Electric Co. manufactures innovative zero emission vehicles like this city bus, right here in Quebec

What’s more, with massive investment by government in mass transit there should be a requirement to purchase electric buses. Additionally there are now electric options for municipal fleets from garbage trucks to pickup trucks, light duty vehicles to patrol cars. With the lowest electricity rates in North America, the time is ripe for Quebec to have a major push to electrify mobility.

What will it take for you to go electric?

Thanks to Executive Producer Nick Cogger for putting on an extraordinary show. Lookin’ forward to Movin’ On 2019.

My brand new 2017 Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle

Birnbaum campaign for the new D’Arcy McGee shaping up

2 Comments

D’Arcy McGee Member of the National Assembly David Birnbaum welcomed a crowd of supporters to the Gelber Conference Centre earlier this week as part of a fundraiser to kick off his re-election campaign. The location of the event east of the Decarie Boulevard signifies the changing electoral boundary in the upcoming provincial elections. The riding of D’Arcy McGee will expand beyond its traditional territory of Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Snowdon West. Newly included in  the riding will be a substantial area stretching to Cote des Neiges Road bordered by Cote Saint-Catherine to the south and the CP Railway to the north of Vezina.

Speaking with his customary eloquence and grace Birnbaum said that, “there is only one party in the National Assembly that truly represents all Quebecers,” giving examples of how the CAQ and PQ have not stood up for minority communities. The CAQ has indicated its position on immigrants which runs contrary to the belief of so many of Birnbaum’s constituents and, “the PQ still has its Article 1 that speaks of Quebec without Canada.”

 

 

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum speaks to a group of supporters at the Gelber Conference Centre

Mitch Garber was the special guest speaker.  Chairman of the Board of the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil, Mitch was recently named as Chairman of  a new organization, Invest in Canada, which is focused on streamlining and encouraging investment in Canada. Mitch is also the co-founder of Ceasar’s Entertainment,  a world-leading game development company. Closer to home, Mitch is an old school-mate of mine at Bialik High School and McGill University.

Mitch has never forgotten his roots and always speaks proudly of his community and his love of Montreal, Quebec and Canada.

“Mitch and his wife Anne-Marie are doing so much to bridge the gaps between our linguistic communities, between our Jewish community and all over Quebec, with frankness of warmth and compassion,” said Birnbaum.

Speaking about his passion for business and baseball, Garber took care not to make any partisan pronouncements, although it was clear that his support for David Birnbaum was genuine and sincere.

Guest speaker Mitch Garber throws his enthusiastic support to Birnbaum

 

My wife, Dr. Judy Hagshi and I were pleased to show our support for David. I worked closely with him in my capacity as a City Councillor. David’s keen interest in matters affecting municipal life and provincial matters are evident. If he, and his very able staff of Chris and Elizabeth, could do anything to assist his constituents, they would do so with pleasure.

What’s more I was always impressed in his interest in the larger Jewish community and its public establishments, following in the footsteps of Lawrence Bergman, his predecessor. David was front and centre in speaking up in the National Assembly on Yom Hashoah, as was Bergman.

He also went out of his way, literally, in showing great interest in the advancement of the Jewish General Hospital, where I work in public relations on behalf of the West-Central Montreal health authority. The JGH is located in Mount Royal riding, which never stopped David (or Lawrence Bergman before him) from doing whatever he could to help out on any file, along with his neighbouring MNA, Pierre Arcand. As happenstance would have it, with the redrawing of the electoral map, the JGH will in fact be in the new D’Arcy McGee boundaries come October 1.

 

Dr. Judy Hagshi and Glenn J. Nashen supporting David Birnbaum for re-election

We may not agree on every single issue but that doesn’t diminish David’s strong support of his riding and constituents. And we may not agree with all of his party’s platform but that doesn’t take away from their strong handling of the economy and their clear position on Quebec’s place in a united Canada. As David said, that’s much more than we can say about his competitors.

I look forward to challenging David on issues of importance to me such as English-language rights, pre-hospital emergency medical care, public safety and the promotion of electric vehicles and other green initiatives. I know he will always give me an ear and bring my concerns to the seat of power in Quebec City.

Best of luck to my friend, David Birnbaum.

Florida moves to stop time shift, should Canada follow?

4 Comments

Florida has moved a step closer to making Daylight Saving Time permanent and end the dreaded and dreary semi-annual ritual of moving clocks back and forth. I have called upon our Members of Parliament to do the same for the last several years right here on my blog. Put an end to this archaic time-waster and let us have more sunlight all winter long.

I hope thew Florida Governor signs the Bill and that the US Congress follows suit. The chain reaction will surely push our parliamentarians to finally end moving our clocks back and forth.

Barry Wislon picked up on this movement in his recent Postscript vlog.

So let’s keep the momentum going. Blog it, shout it and call out your MP. The sunshine is back and we should keep it that way, all year long.

N

More:

Daylight Saving Time: Let there be light

Are you ready for clock confusion?

This time I’m voting to scrap time change

I’m tired of falling back!

I’m tired of falling back!

Leave a comment

Worth Repeating:

garfield_i_hate_mornings

It’s about time!

Really, it’s about time that we ended this ridiculous 1970s-oil-crisis-game show of turning the clocks back and forth and pretending that this outdated and disruptive ritual is somehow beneficial to the economy or environment or our circadian rhythm. It’s not. I’m sick and tired of falling back!

Studies have shown that traffic accidents spike because we’re thrown off kilter, that heart attacks rates increase and that unless we’re raising chickens in our backyards that there’s not much of a benefit of having the sun come up well before 99% of us are ready to lift our weary heads off of our pillows. In fact, I don’t know anyone that is all that thrilled of having the sun set over Mount Royal at 3:30PM, a good hour before anyone’s even contemplating leaving their office (two hours for the rest of us).

I hate driving home before dinner in pitch black, yawning my way down Fleet Road, ready for my pajamas and fluffy slippers, only to remember that there are kids’ activities to drive to or volunteer work or meetings to attend.

And, I don’t know about you but why do I need the sun to rise at 6:00AM, especially in the middle of winter when the likelihood of going for an early morning jog in -30C on ice covered sidewalks is kinda low on my list of favourite pastimes.

So, this is a message to my favourite Member of Parliament. I know you’re reading this Anthony. You’re the only person I know that will be getting up super early to swim 100 laps before I hear Snap, Crackle or Pop. Please march right over to Justin’s office and deposit a draft bill to repeal the time change, just like those wise Saskatchewanians who were smart enough to realize that it’s better to stay on Daylight Savings Time, all the time!

If you’re like me, you too are sick and tired of falling back!

N

Here’s my previous rant on this annoying subject.

And this is a clipping from the Suburban Newspaper back in 2012:

Suburban Newspaper, Jan. 4, 2012

Suburban Newspaper, Jan. 4, 2012

 

 

Our farmer is closer than you’d think

Leave a comment

Judy Hagshi and Jeremy Nashen at Lufa Farms rooftop nursery near Marché Central

Lufa Farms is an agricultural company located in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville neighborhood of Montreal. It is reputed to have built the world’s first commercial greenhouse on the roof of a building. The company’s first Montreal greenhouse began operations in early 2011.

Covering an area of 31,000 square feet, Lufa Farms produces vegetables year-round without synthetic pesticides, capturing rainwater, and recirculating irrigation water. The company delivers more than 10,000 baskets per week.

Lufa Farms rooftop nursery grows a wide variety of produce capturing and recycling rainwater and irrigating the plants through drip technology

Lufa Farms’ relies on a direct-to consumer business model, which minimizes the transport of food. Unlike traditional greenhouses, Lufa Farms recreates several microclimates to provide the quality and productivity of cultivars. According to the founder of Lufa Farms, Mohamed Hage, “If we were using the roofs of 19 shopping centres in Montreal, we could make the city self-sufficient.”

My family signed up to receive a weekly basket of fruit and vegetables four years ago through the Cote Saint-Luc Public Library. After a pause of a few years, my wife Judy, decided to rejoin a few weeks ago. Lufa Farms’ members are called “Lufavors”.

The happy Lufavors: Phyllis, Glenn, Nicole, Nathalie, Jeremy and Judy

We attended yesterday’s open house in their rooftop nursery near the Marché Central. My family took part in the study tour learning all about their operations and distribution system. Did you know that your average fruit and vegetable travels 2500 kilometres until it gets to you. The produce is cultivated long before you consume it and is transferred via refrigerated trucking, stored in refrigerated warehouses and is redistributed to your grocer before you ever see it on their shelves. By comparison, Lufa Farms picks your personalized order from the vine overnight and it’s generally in your kitchen within 12 hours!

Big, fresh and delicious

 

From vine to your kitchen in 12 hours!

An vibrant micro-economy has sprung out of this venture with small artisan producers partnering with Lufa to bring their products directly to its member’s table through the Lufa distribution network.

My wife and kids select our weekly basket online and we pick up our order at the library, just a short walk from home.

It couldn’t not be easier, fresher, more educational and interesting with new foods to explore all while we support our local producers right here in the Montreal area.

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional transport from the farm still on display

 

Nathalie and her ‘Bubs’ Phyllis getting ready for Halloween cooking

 

 

 

 

 

Read and watch more:

Global News

Montreal Gazette

Globe and Mail

Older Entries