That's Life - August 16, 2017

It has been, and continues to be, a terrible year for our friends and neighbours in British Columbia. Reports indicate that it is their worst wildfire year since 1958.

My wife and I were lucky, in the early part of July, as we travelled to the west coast and back without running into any smoke. But that has since changed.

Our desire to return to the coast has been delayed, not only by wildfires but by the unseasonal heat.

Staycationing has played a major role in our summer. The Reynolds Museum, in Wetaskiwin and the Saskatoon Farm, near Okotoks, are two Staycation experiences that I would recommend to anyone.

I took special interest in the display of three cars, circa 1900 at the Reynold’s Museum. One was powered by steam, one by electricity and one by gasoline. These three cars were on the road before Three Hills was established on the flats. A little further on, we were looking at electric powered bicycles and motorcycles. I was reminded that the tussle between electric powered and fossil fuel powered vehicles has been going on for well over 100 years.

Being the Curious George (Tim) that I am, I had to do a little research. As the environment seems to be one of the main reasons for the transition from fossil fuel to electric, I was surprised to read that environmentally, both have equal merits, according to the information I was given. The research, published by “Comparable - Dare to Compare”, mentioned the current electric grid and although it is sufficient now, that might change as electric car usage increases and they all plug-in on a hot day as the rest of us are trying to operate our air conditioners.

Then the argument of solar energy surfaces. All fine and well. But if you’re trying to charge your electric vehicle in the winter, in the dark, you’re not going to have much luck with solar power.

If you live in a province, a state or a foreign country where coal is used to generate electricity, the environmental benefits of electric cars over fossil fuel powered is about equal.

Battery life of an electric car, in the winter months, is cut by up to 25 per cent. Unless you’re willing to pay top dollar for your new electric car, you had best compare your personal needs to the vehicle’s range. You might not get more than about 150 miles out of a single charge. Charging stations are not that common yet, and charging takes time, so you’d better have plenty of it.

In my opinion, the electric car is a great choice for the short distance driver. But the fossil fueled engine will rule the major highways for years to come.

I don’t even want to think about electric combines, tractors, long-haul trucks and let’s not forget air travel.

Yes, the electric car has its place, but there will, in our lifetime, always be a need for fossil fuel powered vehicles.

Yes, I know, we live in a society where technology provides us with constant change. But too often “what’s new”, becomes a reason to make something else “obsolete”. How about making room for “what’s new”, while the rest of society keeps their jobs providing goods and services that have stood the test of time. In our business, we’ve been making room for over 100 years, just like those three cars at the Reynolds Museum.

That’s Life.