Buying a car is a big decision, especially if you’re switching from a traditional gas car to an electric one. Electric vehicles are quickly becoming more popular in Canada and offer several advantages including low to zero emission, low maintenance, and ability to charge the car at home. But is an EV right for your lifestyle?
Here are 6 questions you should ask yourself before buying an electric vehicle:
1. Would you like a quieter driving experience?
Electric vehicles are so silent that companies had to make a fake sound, so passersby are aware. Even then EVs are quieter compared to gas-powered cars. If you enjoy a quieter driving experience, especially on our scenic Canadian roads, this is the way to go.
2. Do you have an EV charging station near your home?
EVs need around 8 hours to charge completely. It’s likely that you’ll be sharing the EV charger with your neighbours in a condo or your nearest charging station. Before you decide on the purchase, find out the number of compatible stations in your area, their charging speed, and reviews on Google.
3. How many kilometres do you plan to drive every week?
Electric vehicles offer anywhere between 160 to 450 kilometre driving range per charge. Tesla offers the best range but it’s also quite expensive. Earlier models from Nissan and BMW have the lowest range.
These are just estimates and your car’s actual driving range will depend on battery age, ambient temperature, use of vehicle climate control, and terrain (highways, uphill, downhill, suburban areas, and more).
4. Do you know EVs experience significant range loss during winters?
Expect your car’s battery capacity to reduce by at least 30 percent during our brutal Canadian winters. To protect the battery from rapid decline, you’ll have to partially heat the battery when the car’s charging. You’ll also need to invest in winter tires, especially if your car’s front drive.
5. Would you have access to backup transportation?
Like we mentioned earlier, EVs need a lot of downtime for charging. There will be times your car won’t have enough power to drive. It’s crucial to have backup transportation like public transit or even a second car, so you can commute wherever you want to go.
6. Can you install an EV charger at home?
Most condo management don’t allow installing an EV charger. There are a few that are allowed in Vancouver. However, many condos now offer charging stations that you’ll share with those EV owners in the condo. If you live in a house, you can install one at home. Chargers start at $995 (plus tax) and can operate at a temperature range of -40°C to 50°C. It provides 7.2kW of power and can charge most standard electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids in approximately eight hours.
Buying a pre-owned EV will save you some money. Used Tesla cars work the best but look specifically at the battery capacity and driving range.