Thinking about going “green” and choosing an electric or hybrid vehicle? Keep reading to learn more about each type of vehicle and the associated costs and considerations.

Electric vehicle icon

 

According to The Conference Board of Canada, transportation sources account for approximately 34.7% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. With climate change and the planet’s ability to sustain its inhabitants becoming a more prominent issue, many Canadians are making a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint. One way to do this is by going “green” for your next vehicle and selecting an electric car.

Currently, the average Ontarian produces approximately 12.6 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. In accordance with the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act 2016, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has reported that Ontario has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to less than 2 tonnes per person per year by 2050. In order to reach this goal and improve the sustainability of the earth, it is imperative that car manufacturers begin producing more eco-friendly vehicles. To make the switch from a gas to an electric vehicle more attractive to prospective car buyers, the Government of Ontario also has several monetary incentives available.

Figure 1: How Ontario’s carbon footprint stacks up

Carbon Footprint Chart - Annual GHG Report

 

Car Manufacturers are Going “Green”

Quartz has suggested that, unfortunately, the electric vehicle market has “barely put a dent” in the sales of traditional gas-powered vehicles, stating that they accounted for less than 1% of the almost 18 million cars sold annually in the United States. On a global scale, CNN Money reported that electric vehicle sales only account for 3% of all automobile sales. This should change in the coming years however, since more countries continue to acknowledge the negative impact that gas and diesel-powered vehicles have on the planet. CNN Money’s July 2017 article revealed that 10 countries, including China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Korea have all set official targets for electric car sales. Additionally, Britain, France, India and Norway have all set goals to ban gas and diesel-powered vehicles within the next quarter century.

Aware of the shift in several countries towards eco-friendly transportation, Volvo just recently announced that after 2019, all of the vehicles released by the company will either be fully electric or hybrids. According to CBC News, the company is the “first major traditional automaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.” With decreasing battery costs and improvements to the charging infrastructure, it is likely that other large automakers may eventually make the move to solely produce electric vehicles.

Types of Electric Vehicles

There are two different types of electric vehicles, so it is wise to become informed about both types before deciding on an eco-friendly model that fits your needs. Plug ‘N Drive has explained the differences in these vehicles quite well on their website, so we’ve summarized their explanations below:

  1. Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – This type of vehicle is considered to be fully electric, as it operates using only electric power. Since a BEV does not require any gas or diesel fuel and has no engine, it does not produce any tailpipe emissions.
  2. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – This type of vehicle provides some of the benefits of a BEV, but still makes use of either gas or diesel fuel. A PHEV has a battery pack powered electric motor along with a gas-powered engine. PHEVs allow owners to drive their vehicle only using electric power for distances up to approximately 80 kilometres. After the electric power has run out, the PHEV will switch to its gas-powered engine, so your long distance trips can continue without a hitch.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

 

Incentives

Currently in the province of Ontario, there are incentives for drivers to make the switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle. The Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (EVIP) has existed since 2010 and according to the Ministry of Transportation, it aims to support the climate change goals of the province’s Climate Change Action Plan. The EVIP will support these goals by making BEVs and PHEVs more affordable, promoting BEVs and PHEVs with larger batteries and increased seating capacity, and by increasing the support for zero-emission vehicles. The Government of Ontario, through the EVIP, provides a rebate of up to $14,000 for purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle. You can check the EVIP Eligible Vehicles List to find out if the vehicle you are considering will be eligible for a rebate.

According to the program’s parameters, choosing an electric or hybrid vehicle with greater battery capacity and more seating capacity will help you get more money back through the program. Keep in mind that the EVIP is only available when purchasing or leasing a brand new vehicle that has not been previously plated. Vehicles leased for 12 months receive a third of the total incentive, while vehicles leased for 24 months receive two-thirds of the incentive. Vehicles leased for 36 months or more will receive the full incentive amount. PHEVs that have a sticker price between $75,000 and $150,000 are only eligible for a maximum rebate of $3,000. Additionally, purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle for $150,000 or more automatically disqualifies you from being eligible for any EVIP rebate. To read more about Ontario’s EVIP rebate program and find out about the specific parameters that determine eligibility, go to the Ministry of Transportation’s dedicated EVIP website.

Electric Cars Available in Canada

Plug ‘N Drive has compiled a list of the electric cars currently available for purchase in Canada. Their detailed list with other information such as charging time and acceleration time (0-100km/h) can be found on the Plug ‘N Drive website.

AutoLoans.ca has put together a simple table with some basic information about the electric cars currently available in Canada, but keep in mind that new PHEV and BEV vehicles are continually coming out onto the market. To find out if your next energy-efficient vehicle is available in Canada and eligible for the Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, check the Ministry of Transportation’s website for a list of all vehicles that qualify.

Table 1: Electric cars currently available in Canada

MakeModelBattery (BEV) or Hybrid (PHEV)Average Distance on Electric PowerStarting Price (CAD)
1AudiA3 Sportback e-tronHybrid26 km$40,900
2BMW330eHybrid22 km$52,100
3BMW740 Le xDriveHybrid22 km$107,900
4BMWi3Battery183 km$47,300
5BMWi8Hybrid24 km$150,000
6BMWX5 xDrive40eHybrid28 km$74,000
7ChevroletBOLTBattery383 km$42,895
8ChevroletVOLTHybrid85 km$39,590
9ChryslerPacifica PHEVHybrid53 km$50,995
10FordC-Max EnergiHybrid32 km$39,729
11FordFocus ElectricBattery185 km$31,998
12FordFusion EnergiHybrid34 km$36,399
13HyundaiIONIQ ElectricBattery170 km$35,649
14HyundaiSonata PHEVHybrid43 km$43,999
15KiaOptima PHEVHybrid47 km$42,995
16KiaSoul EVBattery149 km$35,395
17Mercedes-BenzGLE 550eHybrid30 km$83,000
18Mercedes-BenzS 550eHybrid22 km$102,600
19Mitsubishii-MiEVBattery100 km$27,998
20NissanLEAFBattery172 km$37,398
21PorscheCayenne S E-HybridHybrid22 km$89,400
22PorschePanamera S E-HybridHybrid25 km$106,600
23TeslaModel SBattery435 km$95,300
24TeslaModel XBattery413 km$132,000
25Volkswagene-GolfBattery201 km$35,995
26VolvoXC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEVHybrid22 km$73,400

Things to Keep in Mind Before You Go Electric

Electric vehicles vs gas vehicles

 

If you feel like you’re ready to start shopping for an electric vehicle soon, there are a few important factors that you should consider before taking the plunge:

Budget

The price of electric cars is likely to decrease over time. Currently, the cheapest new BEV option available on the Canadian market is the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and a quick search on Autotrader.ca found some used ones for just over $10,000. If you’re set on getting a BEV or PHEV, but aren’t willing to part with your retirement savings to pay for it, check what used options are available for purchase. Maybe a used vehicle isn’t for you, so be sure to check the Electric Vehicle Incentive Program’s website to see if the new BEV or PHEV vehicle you like is eligible for any rebates.  AutoLoans.ca has access to thousands of new and used vehicles and our staff would be happy to help you find an electric or hybrid option that fits within your budget.

Charging

Green electric vehicle

Charging Availability

For longer drives and road trips, you will likely have to charge your vehicle while en route. There is some justified concern that has been expressed over the lack of charging stations across the province. Global News reported in July 2017 that the provincial government’s goal to install 500 charging stations across Ontario had not yet been fully realized. Despite a March 2017 deadline for the new charging stations, only two-thirds of them had actually been installed by the deadline. To find out where you can charge your BEV or PHEV across Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has created a helpful tool called the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locator, which can be found here.

Charging Costs

If charging your vehicle primarily at home, it is best to do so overnight, during the off-peak hours for electricity. If you charge your BEV in this way, the Ministry of Transportation suggests that charging costs should be less than $300 annually. If you decide to charge your PHEV from home, it “will cost about $700 per year, or $1.92 per day for fuel (including gas and electricity costs).” If utilizing a public charging station to charge your vehicle, the Toronto Star says that you should expect to pay between $5 and $10 to fill up your car from no charge. Some charging station owners may however “opt to make them free to boost business.”

Charging Methods

Currently, there are three different ways for you to charge your electric vehicle, defined by the Ministry of Transportation as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Level 1 charging occurs when an electric vehicle is charged via a standard household outlet (110V), enabling the vehicle to be fully charged within 8-20 hours. Level 2 charging requires an outlet similar to those used for a clothes dryer (240V), so Level 2 charging is able to fully charge a vehicle in approximately four to six hours. Level 3 charging is only available for BEVs and is known as Fast Charging since it uses a 480V system and is able to “charge a vehicle to 80 per cent in about 30 minutes.” When charging a PHEV, the charging time is likely to be shorter than that for a BEV.

Distance

For many Canadians interested in purchasing an electric vehicle, a major concern is the distance that the car is able to go without charging. Electrical engineering professor, Olivier Trescases informed Global News that for Canadians driving a minimal amount daily (20-100 kms) who have access to a charging station, going electric should not be an issue. If you have to drive longer distances regularly, then a fully-electric vehicle may be a less feasible option and you may need to consider purchasing a PHEV.

Seating Capacity

When deciding whether an electric vehicle is right for you, you’ll have to be mindful of the number of people who regularly drive in your vehicle. Many of the vehicles that run solely on electricity tend to be on the smaller side, so if you need space for several family members, your best option might be a plug-in hybrid or a Tesla. If you’re not in a rush to purchase an electric vehicle, Wheels.ca has announced that the “best-selling Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (PHEV) in Europe” will be arriving in Canada in December 2017.

Mitsubishi will soon be rolling out their all-new 2018 Outlander PHEV to Canadians, complete with a 2.0-litre gas engine and two electric motors. Additionally, the new Outlander PHEV is the “world’s first plug-in hybrid crossover SUV” and the only one with all-wheel drive. On the charging front, it will be the only PHEV to have DC Fast Charging ability, allowing the SUV’s battery to be charged to 80 percent in under 30 minutes. With sufficient space for five to seven passengers and at a starting price of $42,998, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a great option for a family looking to make their time on the road more eco-friendly.

Weather

Global News spoke with an electrical engineering professor who claimed that the batteries in electric vehicles would withstand Canadian winters, but that warming the battery up would require more power. This would mean that in the winter, an electric vehicle would require more frequent charging.

Climate change is real and anything individuals can do on a personal level to reduce their carbon footprint helps the planet as a whole. Hopefully, with all of the incentives and climate change goals put forward, more Canadians will begin to opt for a more eco-friendly ride. As the technology improves and going “green” becomes the norm, we should see a decrease in the prices of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and an increase in the availability of charging stations. If you’ve already got an electric or hybrid vehicle in mind, fill out an application here and a member of our highly trained staff will get in contact with you.

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