Eight in ten (80%) Canadians “agree” (33% strongly/48% somewhat) that “electric cars are the way of the future”, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Hyundai. Just two in ten (20%) “disagree” (3% strongly/17% somewhat). Three quarters (75%) of Canadians “agree” (32% strongly/44% somewhat) that they would “like to have a car that is not powered by traditional gasoline”, while only one in four (25%) “disagree” (7% strongly/18% somewhat) that they would like to drive such a car.
However, the poll also found that a majority (71%) “agrees” (25% strongly/46% somewhat) that “constantly having to charge electric cars is a pain” (29% disagree – 7% strongly/22% somewhat). While most (90%) can “agree” (45% strongly/45% somewhat) that “cars that operate on an alternate source of fuel rather than traditional gasoline are great for the environment” and that they’re “innovative” (89% agree – 38% strongly/51% somewhat), two in three (67%) also “agree” (20% strongly/47% somewhat) that they would “like to own an eco-friendly car but electric-powered cars are too much hassle”. One in three (33%) “disagrees” (8% strongly/25% somewhat) that electric-powered cars are too much hassle. Only one in four (24%) say they’re “familiar” (3% very/22% somewhat) with hydrogen fuel cell technology, while most (76%) are not (43% not very/32% not at all familiar – never heard of it).
Providing a basic description of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles—hydrogen and air react in the fuel cell to generate electricity and water; electricity powers the car battery and motor; the only in-use emission or byproduct created is pure water—the poll found:
Nine in ten (89%) “agree” (38% strongly/52% somewhat) that “it has a positive impact on the environment”, while one in ten (11%) “disagrees” (2% strongly/9% somewhat).
Most (86%) “agree” (38% strongly/47% somewhat) that “zero emissions vehicles are key to Canada reducing its carbon emissions”, while 14% “disagree” (3% strongly/11% somewhat).
Eight in ten (80%) “agree” (30% strongly/50% somewhat) that they “would like the government to provide more support for hydrogen fuel cell technology”, while just two in ten (20%) “disagree” (4% strongly/16% somewhat).
Eight in ten (77%) “agree” (23% strongly/54% somewhat) that “hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles are the way of the future”, while 23% “disagree” (3% strongly/19% somewhat).
Six in ten (58%) “agree” (10% strongly/47% somewhat) that “it can’t stand up to Canada’s cold weather”, while four in ten (42%) “disagree” (6% strongly/36% somewhat).
Three in ten (27%) “agree” (4% strongly/23% somewhat) that the “technology is dangerous”, while seven in ten (73%) “disagree” (19% strongly/55% somewhat) that it is.
Overall, two in three (64%) Canadians “agree” (17% strongly/47% somewhat) that they would “consider buying or leasing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle if it was available in their area”, while one in three (36%) “disagree” (9% strongly/27% somewhat) and would not consider driving such a vehicle.
The Ipsos poll was conducted between 27 May and 1 June 2015 on behalf of Hyundai. For this survey, a sample of 1,501 Canadians from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The poll is accurate to within ±2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
In January 2015, Hyundai became the first automotive company to offer hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles to the Canadian public. The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) (earlier post) is available to Canadians on a 3-year lease in the Vancouver area. The Tucson FCEV takes less than 5 minutes to refuel and has an estimated range of more than 420 km (261 miles).
In an effort to demonstrate the benefits of fuel cell technology in a Canadian environment, Hyundai commissioned a broad environmental impact study conducted by Offsetters, a Canada-based provider of sustainability and carbon-management solutions.
Taking into consideration the emissions created during the production of hydrogen fuel, the study found that the Hyundai Tucson FCEV creates 167.3 gCO2e per km driven on a well-to-wheel basis, whereas a comparable ICE vehicle produces 279.6 gCO2e per km driven. Driving the Tucson FCEV, as opposed to a comparable ICE, would result in 40% fewer GHG emissions.
Both FCEV and ICE fuels were compared using the GHGenius model, which is supported by Natural Resources Canada. For the production of hydrogen, Offsetters assumed 90% natural gas production and 10% electrolysis production.
…the life cycle emissions of a FCEV are inherently tied to how the hydrogen is produced. There are many ways to produce hydrogen, and some are less carbon intensive than others. Currently the majority of hydrogen produced in North America is from natural gas via steam methane reforming, a highly carbon intensive process. Should energy sources move to cleaner technologies, such as low carbon gasification and electrolysis from renewable power sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric, it would have profound implications on the life cycle emissions of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles such as the Hyundai Tucson FCEV. As cleaner technologies are developed over time, they will help to further reduce the GHG emissions of the Tucson FCEV. In fact, hydrogen production from renewable sources could approach zero total life cycle emissions.—“Studying the Environmental Benefits of the Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle”
In terms of Criteria Air Contaminants (CACs), driving the Tucson FCEV results in full lifecycle g/km reductions of:
- SOx: 69.09%
- NOx: 37.44%
- VOCs: 96.37%
- PM: 63.41%
- CO: 99.55%
All CACs for the FCEV are produced upstream—i.e., in the production of the hydrogen. Tailpipe emissions are zero.
In every category assessed, the results indicated that Hyundai’s Tucson FCEV performs better with regards to CACs than a comparable ICE. Additionally, due to the difference in where the CACs are generated, i.e. outside of densely populated areas for FCEVs and within these areas for ICEs, the negative impacts from FCEVs on human health are lower when compared to ICE vehicles.—“Studying the Environmental Benefits of the Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle”