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Friday, May 25, 2018 – Page P3

In your dreams Eric Reguly's column, "Electric dreamland," was a wake-up call for electric-vehicle owners not to expect any more government subsidies.

- Eric was spot-on. I have been astonished for quite a long time that people don't seem to take into account how much extra electrical generation or how many new power stations, which themselves have environmental consequences (both in building and operating) will be required.

This won't be happening in a hurry! --David Birnbaum, Toronto - This article highlights the essential issue that many electric-vehicle proponents overlook. The electrical power for charging these cars comes from thermal power stations that are often only marginally "cleaner" than a modern internal combustion engine and, if coal-fired, are far dirtier.

Often overlooked in Canada is that, while an internal combustion engine converts only 35% to 40% of the chemical energy in the fuel to mechanical energy, for five or more months of the year the "waste" heat from the process stops the passengers from slowly freezing while en route. The range of an electric car in the winter is often severely curtailed, as more electrical energy is used to warm the occupants than is used to transport them.

When the electrical grid transmission losses and the losses inherent in charging and discharging the battery are factored in, the efficiency of an electric vehicle in converting the chemical energy of a thermal power station, itself often with an operating efficiency below 50%, is an illusion.

Unfortunately, the political optics of electric vehicles trump the dismal sciences of physics and thermodynamics, which are sometimes not politically correct.

I thank you for a realistic view of this politically popular climate change "solution" and exposing the foibles of the uninformed.

--Christopher Staines

On the rails Trevor Cole's emotional interview with Keith Creel didn't arouse much sympathy.

- Does anyone wonder why CP Rail can eliminate 6,000 jobs and then have service and labour issues? Everyone cashed out, including the hedge funds.

Bonuses were paid, and the customer got shafted. Don't blame it on the weather. It's great to be a duopoly. --Larry Kruger, Ottawa

Shop talk In "Hunger games," Marina Strauss dissected Sobeys CEO Michael Medline's plan to save the beleaguered grocer.

- I have been a weekly Safeway shopper for many, many years.

Safeway initially went downhill when Sobeys took over but it's generally pretty good now. It was galling, however, to read that a "pain point" is the new minimum wage in Alberta and that this could pinch profits by $40 million.

Sobeys should be able to find other ways to make a profit rather than on the backs of their staff.

Thank goodness for governments and minimum wages. Sobeys should be careful--remember Tim Hortons! --Sheila Smith, Calgary - There's still a long way to go. As a longtime customer of Thrifty Foods (also acquired by Sobeys) here on the west coast, I've noticed service, food quality and the happiness of staff has all gone downhill. Prices have gone steadily upward. The Compliments store brand? Very poor quality--I would never buy it again. This replaced the excellent Thrifty Foods and Alex Campbell house brands. I have now taken to shopping at other store chains, something I never thought I would do. --Bagpipe50 Trump's folly?

In our Last Word interview, investor W. Brett Wilson said he couldn't stand Donald Trump, but loved his tax cuts.

- There are many things to like about Wilson. His take on Donald Trump isn't one of them. Wilson says, "You can't argue with the benefits of changing the tax rate from 38% to 21%." Let me try. Boosting the U.S. deficit to $1 trillion by 2020 is not a good idea. If I worked for Wilson and suggested we drop the price of a product to create more sales, but doing so meant expenses would exceed revenues and we would be adding to the company's long-term debt, how long would I stay employed? Trying to attract investment by having the lowest tax rate is like competing on price instead of on value. Short-term gain, long-term pain.

--Guy Skipworth, Toronto Send us your thoughts at robmagletters@globeandmail.com, tweet us @robmagca and follow us on Instagram @rob_magazine

Associated Graphic

Report on Business magazine has received 11 National Magazine Awards nominations, including one for best general interest publication.


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