The Ford Factor (2)

I saw a report on CBC News about a week ago saying that “The federal government and Ontario have pledged to spend up to $500 million to make the Ford plant in Oakville, Ont., able to build electric vehicles … [the report says that] … The future of the plant has been a key question for Canada’s automotive industry ever since the Unifor union started negotiating with the automaker for a new three-year pact to cover the company’s Canadian workforce … [but] … The two sides struck a deal a few hours after a midnight strike deadline on Tuesday morning, one that will see the company commit $1.98 billion to build five new electric vehicles and an engine contract that could yield new jobs in Windsor, Ont … [and] … Ford has previously committed to spending $11 billion US to develop and manufacture electric vehicles, but so far all of that money was earmarked for Ford plants in Mexico and the company’s home state of Michigan.

Canada and Ontario have invested billions, literally, in the automotive sector since 2008; that’s not surprising, even with robots doing more and more, those are …

… still the “gold standard” for jobs: available, with good salaries and great benefits, to high school leavers ~ almost the traditional definition of the middle-class job.

It’s important to remember that fully ½ of all Canadian live in the red and green areas on the map on the left. Slightly more than double that number, slightly more than the entire population of Canada, lives in California …

… and the distance from the top to the bottom of California is less than 850 miles (less than 1,400 km) and the average current electric vehicle can travel about 100 miles (150 km) before it needs to recharge or switch to its gasoline engine. In other word, leaving aside the 1⁄4 of Canadians who live in the big yellow area, and about 1⁄10 of Australian who live on about 90% of their country’s landmass, most people in the world live in areas where electric cars are likely to be practical. As far as I know there are a few limiting factors to making electric cars cheap and attractive. This graphic from Visual Capitalist explains some of them. It seems to me that the big issues are:

1. A better, cheaper, battery that produces longer range at lower cost; and

2. A recharging infrastructure where a “fast charges” to 75+% of battery capacity (allowing for, say, 250 miles (400 km) can be done in, say, 15 minutes about the the current cost of ½ of a tank of gas for a comparable gasoline engine car.

In other words electric cars will be practical when one can drive from Windsor, ON, to Québec City (1,200 km) in about the same time and for about the same cost as one can do it, now, in an economy car:

Thus, building electric cars in Canada, for the North American market should be a good thing both for our economy and for the global environment.

This is the sort if practical Conservative environmental action that doesn’t get enough attention from the green community, mainly because it is Conservative, even though the NDP hold the seats in the Windsor area the money is coming from Doug Ford’s government and he’ll get no thanks from the green crusaders, from Justin Trudeau or from Jerry Diaz, Prime Minister Trudeau’s faithful ally in the LiberalBig LabourBay Street alliance.

There’s nothing new in that alliance; it goes back about 15 years when CAW boss Buzz Hargrove dumped the NDP and endorsed the Liberals. Big Labour, the Big banks, Big Business and Bay Street are all united behind the Liberal Party, but preserving good jobs is a Conservative value, too, and Erin O’Toole should be giving Doug Ford a big tumbs-up for a job well done …

… for working with industry and other orders of government to crate jobs that also make good environment sense, too. A good Conservative environmental programme includes jobs for hard-working Canadians.

Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

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