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Canada can ride the electric vehicle trend to prosperity

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Clinton DesveauxThe home of hockey, curling, maple syrup and Celine Dion is a nation overflowing with precious metals from coast to coast to coast.

Canadian provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan, known for oil sands operations, also have an abundance of lithium.

Why is this important?

The impending global electric vehicle tsunami is about to cause major disruption to nations not paying attention. Nations like Canada can take advantage of the innovation happening in the world of technology and transportation.

And let’s be honest, the federal governments of both Canada and the United States aren’t paying attention. Nor are the governments of the various provinces and states.

Oil sands recovery operations are basically mining, and that mining is uncovering lithium. So Alberta and Saskatchewan have an abundance of an important commodity – lithium – that’s in desperate need all over the world.

market share adoption data
Market Share Adoption Data Chart
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Provinces like Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario all have significant nickel deposits. Canada’s north has large gold deposits and so on. Precious metals in Canada represent an important news story, as a job creator and economic driver.

Can Canada supply the building blocks for increasing electric vehicle demand or will it miss the disruption?

We’ve seen electric vehicle technology be designed in part in Halifax: the dry-cell Tesla 4680 battery is in cars being sold starting this quarter. The battery has an impressive range of 837 km to a single charge, with a charging time of 15 minutes and a lifespan of 3.5 million km.

The pace of disruption and innovation is going to get much faster and the market demand is going to escalate very quickly.

So what should Canada do?

We need to execute a three-point plan to ensure Canadians are in a position to benefit from this market disruption and innovation:

  • We need to ensure that naval shipping ports in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia can operate without blockades. Canada also needs to ensure that rail transportation corridors connecting east and west can operate without demonstrations shutting down these vital links. Canadians should also be concerned that many rail links in places like northern Manitoba and Atlantic Canada need significant upgrades.
  • The federal government needs to meet with all provincial and territorial counterparts to establish a single set of regulations evenly applied across the nation. Costs need to be competitive and consistent on a global scale.
  • The federal and the provincial governments need to put together a real marketing plan pointing out we’re a nation that respects the rule of law, legal contract and human rights – in short, pointing out the benefits of doing business with Canada. That means attending international precious metals trade shows and international automotive shows, and reaching out to international media.

Can Canada respond to the increasing global demand for electric vehicles or will it miss the disruption?

Clinton Desveaux writes on electric vehicles and disruption issues. He lives in Halifax.

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