Transition to All Electric Vehicles

On 12 October 2021, Council approved the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee to look at how the Town could transition to zero emission vehicles.  It would be a sub-committee of the Transportation Advisory Committee. It took until 16 May 2022 for the terms of reference to be approved and then the committee presented their report to Council on 3 October 2022. Chair Randy Curtis presented a summary of the 50 page report including recommendations.  The committee looked at hybrids, hydrogen powered and battery electric vehicles (BEV) and decided on BEVs. The committee’s decision was based on cost and lifetime greenhouse gas emissions. The report also addresses many of the concerns about BEVs such as recycling batteries, resource limitations and impact on the grid.

It’s not just cars and pickups that would be electric: Firetrucks, Police “interceptors”, Transit buses, snow clearing vehicles etc – in fact all vehicles currently using Internal Combustion Engines (ICE).

Recommendations (Summary)

  1. Join the Clean Air Council. The Clean Air Council is a forum for local Council members to inform upper levels of government of concerns on environmental and energy issues and finding funds for municipal pilot projects.
  2. Begin a pilot project to start electrifying the Town of Cobourg fleet vehicles beginning with the vehicles most easily replaced such as passenger sedans, SUVs and pick up trucks.
  3. Pursue all funding programs for BEVs and Charging options for municipal fleet electrification
  4. Direct staff to develop an aggressive policy plan supported and led by the new procurement department to deploy BEVs across the Town’s fleets.
  5. Place orders in advance for BEVs after detailed analysis is completed in order to have vehicles in the pipeline.

Randy estimated that going with BEVs in the Works department alone, the savings over 8 years would be approx. $800K.

Councillor Brian Darling moved a delegation action that the report be referred to the CAO and staff for consideration. His motion passed. Action is expected in the next Council.

Although the report is long, it is a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the issues and is worth a read. Not only that, it was done by an advisory committee and did not involve a consultant.


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9 October 2022 10:52 am

If the shelf life of EVs is less than current cars, will there be a need for more wreckers’ yards? Perhaps EVs could have a self destruct button that can only be activated by a licenced operator. Remains to be used in the foundations of new roads.

5 October 2022 10:55 am

Great report! Thorough. Detailed. Low/no cost. I feel we aren’t ready for this just yet. I think we have fundamental concerns that require attention before the Municipality moves this type of green initiative forward. Lets address our infrastructure, the pier, downtown, the Tannery, Brookside, cost containment, taxes and financial stewardship. Lets ensure we have systems, processes and policies in place. Lets hire talented people to run the business. Green is important but this isn’t even close to a top 10 priority for our Municipality – IMHO.

5 October 2022 9:25 am

I always feel bad about the amount of pollution my school bus ‘spews’ out during my daily runs! There has to be thousands of school buses across the nation, doing the same thing, day after day, not to discount the number of diesel ’18 wheelers’ I see on the 401 every day, ‘spewing’ out the same pollutants!
Let’s forget about electric vehicles and start thinking Hydrogen….in my humble opinion.

George Taylor
Reply to  Ken
5 October 2022 10:15 am


Reply to  Ken
5 October 2022 10:29 am

Hydrogen vehicles will have their day in highway transports, trains, boats, etc. but probably not personal vehicles. And I agree with your comment about school buses. I’ve started my own “project” to look at electrifying our school buses. There are several electric bus (ebas) manufacturers in Canada that we can start with; like they’re already doing in Quebec.

Reply to  David
5 October 2022 10:57 am

When the transit fees were increased earlier this year, it was also decided to buy several new “small” busses. Staff was asked about electrics/hybrids and advised that there was some development but nothing currently available and the availability timeline was about 5 years.
Based on your info, perhaps staff should revisit this

Florence Fletcher
Reply to  Ken
6 October 2022 9:16 am

Hydrogen infrastructure is not ready, electric is well on the way. Hydrogen is no doubt the fuel of the future but there is a long way to go yet.

Reply to  Ken
7 October 2022 11:56 am

Whether you use electricity to charge up the batteries in a vehicle or whether you use it to break water down into hydrogen and oxygen for fuel, it all ends up about the same, seems to me.

No great advantage either way.

5 October 2022 9:04 am

Did Randy figure in…if the electric fuel would contain the “Road Tax” and other Taxes carbon fuels like gasoline and diesel provide to the government coffers.
Level the playing field first perhaps then calculate the savings. Remember there is no used vehicle $ value of a used up electric vehicle as the cost of a new battery pack outweighs the value of the vehicle. The town had better “walk don’t run” on this project. Let’s hold “Randy” to the grindstone on the projection of the implied savings over 8 years.

George Taylor
Reply to  cornbread
5 October 2022 10:19 am

what happened to the day, when all gas tax went to road care, not into genaral ciffiures?

Reply to  cornbread
5 October 2022 11:05 am

I agree with you about the cost of a replacement battery…$30K+ based on some media stories. 8 years seems to be a short working life for a “municipal” truck. Construction industry contacts suggest that 12+ years is closer to the norm. Perhaps the shorter lifespan is due to the battery life and high replacement cost.
Perhaps “rushing in” and being an early adopter is not the best strategy in this case.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
5 October 2022 2:41 pm

Don’t worry – we’re not an early adopter. Battery life is geared to the average vehicle lifespan. The price of batteries has dropped to 1/3 of what it was in 2010 and it will continue to drop. Where did you see $30K? The 8 year warranty doesn’t account for the true length that the battery will work to provide mobility. Then it can power your home or help support the province’s electrical grid and you can get paid for that.

Reply to  Judy
5 October 2022 5:30 pm


While E passenger vehicles have been available for some years, the commercial/industrial ones are fairly new to the market. The Ford 150 Lightning, for example, only became available recently (spring 2022??). So yes, early adopters.

You are correct about the price drop from 2010. A 40KWh battery cost $40K in 2010 and $9K in 2016. Nonetheless, EVs are still expensive, both the initial cost and a battery replacement if needed.

A replacement battery for a Tesla 3 costs $16-18K. $13-14K for a Tesla S.

As for powering your home, few EVs can do this and it costs more. The EV has to be V2H compliant and a heavy duty charger is needed. In addition, you can’t just plug this charger in. It needs to be installed by a trained electrician: another $2k or so. So the ability to “power your home” will cost about $5K extra.

Reply to  Bryan
6 October 2022 6:30 am

The Ford 150 Lightning just went up in price again today to over $52,000 for the no frills option one. When you replace a auto battery, you have to almost remove the car from the frame…big cost factor as well. Also, we should not continue to rely on Chinese supply to our economy

Reply to  cornbread
6 October 2022 7:33 am

It’s over $52,000 all right, try $68,000. Where did you get that price from? If it’s true, I’ll take all of them.

Reply to  Frenchy
6 October 2022 8:35 am

I heard it on the radio this am 680. Perhaphs dealers are up charging.

Reply to  cornbread
6 October 2022 9:12 am

That $68,000 figure was taken from Ford CANADA website. I wonder if your figure is US$.

Reply to  Frenchy
6 October 2022 11:29 am

That seems reasonable 52K/68K = .765
This is in the range. Current Cdn/US is .735

Reply to  cornbread
7 October 2022 12:05 pm

So true. The batteries are built into the vehicle, under the floor (those yellow bricks that look like solid gold bars).

Must be really expensive to disassemble the vehicle to the extent needed to get at them for replacement.

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Last edited 1 month ago by JimT
Kevin Hedley
5 October 2022 6:29 am

That is a comprehensive report! Answered all my questions and done in only 5 months without costly outside consultant fees. Very impressive. Well done Committee👏🙏

Reply to  Kevin Hedley
5 October 2022 8:30 am

Great No Consulting Fees
How ever This Transition is still just spending More Tax dollars , on a Whim a new Trend .
I Get to travel quite a bit and the only vehicles I see being Towed are electric these days
Not sure why ? But there must be a reason . I might suggest a slow transition
rather than replace any or all of a departments vehicles at the same time .
I would love to see a report on reliability and maintenance cost of such vehicles as well
surly some independent organization like CAA , not the manufacturer has such a report already.

Reply to  Sandpiper
5 October 2022 2:47 pm

It is saving tax dollars because the total cost of ownership is much lower. As the report says you will save $35,000 over an 8 yr. period going for the electric vehicle due to low maintenance -few moving parts, and much cheaper than gas or diesel to power.

Reply to  Judy
5 October 2022 4:41 pm

Please correct me if I’m wrong, because I know nothing about electric vehicles.
But it is my understanding that there is no “trade in” value to an electric vehicle. When they’re done, they’re done. The batteries would cost more to replace, if that can even be done, than the vehicle would be worth. Is that a factor in the overall price vs. savings?

Florence Fletcher
Reply to  Tucker
6 October 2022 9:23 am

I know someone who just traded in an electric vehicle to purchase a new one and they received more for the trade than they paid. There is a good market for used electric vehicles. We love our Kona EV.

Greg H
4 October 2022 5:42 pm

The report by local volunteers is excellent, much better than a paid consultant would have produced.

Not all thing are new ! Over seventy years ago the Royal Borough of Kensington, in London England collected garbage using electric trucks. They were quiet and did not “roar and brake” like their modern counterparts.


Reply to  Greg H
5 October 2022 11:13 am

Greg H.

Totally agree. This is an excellent example of what the local talent pool of volunteers can produce. Quality work, on par with the big dollar consultants, at a huge saving.

Florence Fletcher
Reply to  Greg H
6 October 2022 9:24 am

Growing up in England our milk was delivered on an electric milk float, all you could hear was the glass bottles tinkling.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Florence Fletcher
16 October 2022 8:47 pm

Those milk floats do 10-16 MPH max top speed in the those few numbers that still remain compared to what there used to be before we came here not very long ago.
The size /cost of a battery required for an ordinary electric passenger car today compared to milk float requirement(s) is definitely apples and oranges.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bill Thompson