Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the way of the future...actually, it's safe to now say that they're the way of the present. The technology and charging infrastructure has improved vastly over the last few years, while costs have come down to the point that it is often now cheaper to choose an electric vehicle over a traditional gasoline-fueled car, when considering the whole life-cycle cost. As of February 2017, there are nearly 30,000 electric cars on the road in Canada (9000 registered in Ontario)...and growing.
The main barrier remaining is a psychological one. People may still think electric vehicles "aren't quite there yet", or they may feel 'range anxiety' about finding a charging station in time, or simply be unsure about breaking tradition of buying a gas car. Several myths about EVs still linger as well (eg. believing batteries will die after a few years; or your emissions aren't reduced because they just get transferred to the power grid -- not true in Ontario).
Another obstacle may be finding a good car dealer who knows and understands EVs and is willing to spend the time to help you, rather than trying to steer you away from them. For traditional dealerships, EVs may be outside of their comfort/knowledge zones, or they may stand to make less on them from maintenance revenues in the long run, or a dealership's sales metrics may be set-up to favour gas cars over EVs, etc. If a dealer isn't helpful or knowledgeable, move on to another one. Tesla is unique in that they don't have traditional dealerships, but rather "stores", as they call them, and EVs are their specialty.
It is true that there aren't as many EV models available in Canada as in the U.S., but there is still a decent selection (see below), with more on their way (including a plug-in hybrid SUV from Mitsubishi).
If you are in the market for a new vehicle, or will be soon, we hope that the information at the bottom of this page will allay any concerns and convince you that now is the time to make the leap and Go Electric!
BurlingtonGreen helped promote EVs at the 2nd Annual Burlington Downtown Car Show, July 2016.
Check out our informative video...
Why Go Electric?
- Greatly lower your eco-footprint; drive with a clear conscience: The largest contributor to climate change for the typical household is transportation. By switching to an electric vehicle, you can make a very large reduction in your environmental footprint. The electricity used to charge the vehicle in Ontario is from relatively clean sources now that Ontario has shut down its coal-fired power plants. Charge in the evening and you are most likely drawing mainly from Ontario's nuclear and hydro-electric power sources which produce little to no GHGs.
- Low energy costs: Avoid paying for gasoline. Your energy costs will be on your electricity bill, but you can charge in the evening at off-peak times or for FREE at many public chargers. As carbon taxes are levied on gasoline, you should be ahead in the long run. If you want the re-assurance of having gasoline back-up, you can purchase a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) that runs mostly on electric, but has a gas tank back-up for extra range, just in case.
- Low maintenance: EVs do not have internal combustion engines which require maintenance to the numerous moving parts – electric motors are much simpler systems. No more oil changes. No muffler systems to replace. No starter motors to replace (which can suddenly die in gas-powered cars and leave you calling for a tow truck). Usually no radiators, water pumps, or coolant hoses and fluids to worry about (which can suddenly overheat or spring a leak and leave you stranded on the side of the road). Usually no complex transmission systems. EVs and hybrids use regenerative braking systems to recover energy when stopping and using it to recharge the battery; this also has the added benefit of often greatly prolonging brake life since the brake pads don't have to work as hard, which can further reduce maintenance costs on your the vehicle.
- Often cheaper: Take advantage of government incentives offered to purchase EVs and home charging systems. With incentives offered and lower operating costs mentioned above, the overall life-cycle cost of an EV is now often cheaper than that of a traditional gasoline car.
UPDATE FEB. 1, 2017: Ontario removes rebate caps on EVs priced under $150,000.
Selection Tools for Green Vehicles
View BG's helpful cost analysis and EV comparison tool, to help you pick the right EV for you.
BurlingtonGreen's EV & hybrid survey/quiz
Test your knowledge of EVs and hybrids. We'll bet some of the facts will surprise you!
Plus, good information here on Ontario's long-term EV strategy.
- Numerous community charging stations popping up: The network of charging stations across Ontario continues to expand regularly. The Government of Ontario is a making a substantial investment to expand this network as well. View a map of charging locations here. Also, take advantage of incentives to install a charger at home. Ontario has set bold GHG emission reduction targets and aims to facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles as a key means to achieve these targets. View Ontario's helpful EV charger page here, along with other information on EVs.
How close are YOU to meeting Ontario's 80% emission reduction target by 2050?
Find out with this handy graph.
- Less highway traffic: slide into the HOV/HOT lanes to beat traffic on the 403/QEW. EVs have their privileges! (Note: special green license plate required. Learn more here.) Also, fingers crossed for more "EV/hybrid only" premium parking spaces popping up at workplaces, stores, parking lots in the future.
- More storage: Because there is no bulky gas engine under the hood as in a traditional gas vehicle, EVs often have an extra 'trunk' compartment in the front for storage where an engine would normally be.
- Stand up for sustainability. Take the lead in your community. Set an example: Be one of the first people in your neighbourhood to drive an EV, so others can see that it's doable and not so far-fetched to make the leap. People are more likely to switch to EVs if they know someone personally that has one and is happy with it and to whom they can direct questions. Help make EVs the norm – our collective future depends on it!