RCMP introduces first EV model to join fleet, more expected soon

The West Shore RCMP commented that their geography and mild winter weather make this an ideal test environment.

RCMP introduces first EV model to join fleet, more expected soon
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Canada's West Shore RCMP unveiled its first electric vehicle (EV) model to join the fleet as part of the federal initiative to transition from gasoline to electric by 2035.

The Tesla Model Y is the police force's first EV, with tests of the electric Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Ford F-150 expected soon.

According to a release from the federal police force, the West Shore division has been equipped to meet policing standards and will be used by frontline officers to respond to calls for service. 

"[They] requested the vehicle last year as part of a commitment to reduce the RCMP’s carbon footprint and to comply with the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act," said its Media Relations Officer, Cpl. Nancy Saggar.

Passenger vehicles account for half of all road transportation emissions and about 10% of Canada's total emissions across all sectors, with the average general duty West Shore police vehicle costing approximately $11,100 in fuel and maintenance fees in 2020. 

"We predict the cost of charging and maintaining an electric vehicle will be significantly lower than that of a gas-powered vehicle," added Saggar.

"Since a single gas-powered vehicle emits approximately 2.3 kilograms of CO2 per litre of gas, the positive environmental impact of replacing internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles is also significant."

She also commented that their geography and mild winter weather make this an ideal test environment for the RCMP.

However, a recent study by Recurrent uncovered that 7,000 EVs could lose up to 30% of their range in freezing temperatures, possibly jeopardizing the 2035 target date.

At temperatures between -7°C and -1°C, the Jaguar I-Pace lost 3% of its range, while the Volkswagen ID.4 lost 30%.

The study also evaluated four Tesla models, and the results showed that the popular EVs lose approximately 15% to 19% of their range in cold weather. 

The RCMP's vehicle choice lost 15% of its range. 

Recurrent researcher Liz Najmam cited the energy needed to heat the EV's cabin during the winter for its decreased range.

The performance of EV batteries dropped below freezing because the cold inhibits the chemical reaction within the lithium-ion battery, allocating less juice for the battery to the distance it can travel in one full charge. 

Najmam said its higher efficiency relative to gas vehicles also prevents it from using wasted heat to warm up the cabin and maintain passenger comfort.

“If you've ever touched the hood of a gas car, you know it's really hot after it's been driving,” said Najman. “And that's because gasoline engines are super inefficient, and so they create all of this waste heat.”

She added that when you turn a gas vehicle on, you funnel all its heat from the engine to the cabin, whereas EVs generate heat in other ways. 

The feds are pushing for six million more zero-emission passenger vehicles by 2030. Before the COVID pandemic, annual sales in Canada of cars and light trucks were under two million units, with the total stock of such vehicles in Canada being about 23 million.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault proposed before Christmas that 20% of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada in 2026 must be electric and 60% by 2030.

The intent is to have all vehicles sold in Canada be EVs by 2035.

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