With sales of EVs growing quickly, you might have wondered how much does charging an EV cost when compared to the ever-rising gas prices. Other than being fuel efficient, electric vehicles are also 70% greener than gas-powered cars, require less maintenance, and are more responsive and faster. In Ontario, EV car owners can get a licence plate, which allows you to drive in provincial high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, even if it’s only you in the car.
How far can EVs go on one charge?
Most EVs today last up to 120 to 200 kilometres on a single charge. Hybrids and long range EVs can go up to 500 kilometres. The driving range is lower in winters because electricity is directed towards heating. EVs work better during traffic hours as the battery doesn’t use energy when stopped, unlike gas-powered cars.
How much does charging an EV cost in Ontario?
When it comes to Ontario Hydro, you could be charged three different rates depending on your time of use. During off-peak hours on weekdays between 7 pm – 7 am, you’ll be charged ¢8.2/kWh. Mid-peak hours cost ¢11.3/kWh and on-peak hours cost ¢17/kWh. Check the table here for exact timings during summers and winters.
Where can I charge my EV in Ontario?
To charge at home, you’ll need to install either a Level 1 or Level 2 charger. The Level 1 or 110 volts takes eight to 20 hours to fully charge the car and add around 8 km range per hour of charging. The Level 2 or 240-volt system is a lot faster and can completely charge your battery-powered car in four to eight hours and add roughly 35 km range per hour of charging. Keeping the Ontario Hydro rates in mind, you can charge the car during off-peak hours and save more money.
Most public EV charging stations are Level 3 or Direct Current, which are the fastest chargers currently and only need 20 to 30 minutes for a full charge and adds approximately 250 km range per hour of charging.
Is charging an EV at home safe?
Electric vehicles are completely safe to charge at home. It’s just like charging any other electronics or appliances at home. However, make sure you follow these precautions:
Charge your EV only with the charger provided by the manufacturer
Don’t modify the charger equipment, use only whatever is provided
Don’t use household adapters between the socket outlet and electric supply equipment
Are EVs environmentally safe?
While EVs don’t emit gases when you’re driving, they still contribute to pollution. That depends on how the electricity you’re using was generated. The key is finding electricity that’s generated using clean fuel. Electric car batteries also last longer. They lose only 1-2% functionality every year and would last 10 to 20 years until they need to be replaced.
Always keep your car’s battery charged up to 60 to 80% as depleting it to zero will damage it faster. Avoid fast charging regularly as that can also deplete the battery faster.
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.
Everyone around you is talking about rising costs of living and gas prices. A recent survey by Clean Energy Canada, a program at Simon Fraser University, confirmed that switching to an electric vehicle can save you tens-of-thousands of dollars over its lifetime. Climate change was ranked as one of the top pressing issues for the next decade by Canadians across age groups.
While electric vehicles aren’t a solution for either rising gas prices or climate change, they definitely are a big help. Clean Energy Canada compared total ownership costs of popular electric car models against well-known traditional car models. They assumed eight years of driving and up to 20,000 km of driven distance every year.
Breaking down the results
Hyundai Kona, Canada’s second-most selling EV in 2021, performed the best. When compared to a gas-powered car in the same price range, Kona has a lifetime cost of $56,000. On the other hand, the gas version’s lifetime cost is $71,100. The report considered the gas price at $1.35/litre, which was the average in 2021 but still extremely below the current British Columbia rates.
Bulk of your savings will come from saving on gas but electric vehicles also require less maintenance. For example, the maintenance cost of a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt costs half compared to a gas-powered 2022 Toyota Corolla hatchback.
According to a report by KPMG, 60 percent of Canadians feel it’s time to buy an electric car and 51 percent say they’ll never buy a gas-powered vehicle. Rising gas prices and climate change have been two important catalysts driving Canadians towards EVs. 48 percent confirmed that their next car will be an electric one.
Electric vehicle industry faces a huge challenge
While the demand’s quickly rising, Peter Hatges, communications director with Clean Energy Canada, is worried about the supply. You can’t go to a dealership, buy the car you like, and drive home in it. There’s a few weeks to months of waiting until you receive your electric vehicle.
The federal government announced a requirement this week that by 2030, 60 percent of total cars sold must be electric. By 2023, all vehicles are expected to be zero emission. On April 4, 2022, the government announced to contribute $259 million to General Motors’ efforts to revitalize its auto manufacturing operations across Ontario and boost EV production. They are expected to make similar contributions throughout the year.
GM has invested over $2 billion until now and will use the federal contribution towards the assembly plant in Ingersoll where they’ll start producing electric commercial vans later this year. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, mentioned in a press release that the contribution aims at generating more jobs for Canadians, more clean vehicles, and better economic growth.
Toronto recently signed a five-year pilot program to replace trucks and vans with e-cargo bikes to reduce traffic and pollutants. Following Toronto’s footsteps, several Ontario cities are planning to switch to adopt the same strategy.
Weighing just over 120 kg, these cargo e-bikes will be fitted with a delivery box. Downtown Toronto will be the first one to test around 20 – 40 e-bikes. They will be allowed to utilise commercial loading and delivery parking zones, which are usually used by delivery vans and trucks.
Implementing new provincial regulations
Aimed at reducing traffic and pollution levels, the Ontario government has asked participating cities to modify their bylaws to allow cargo e-bikes in bicycle lanes. Back in 2020, Toronto tested pedal-assisted e-bikes weighing under 120 kg. It was a successful pilot that helped businesses fulfil local orders during the pandemic.
Ottawa and London are already a part of the new pilot program having joined it back in September 2021. All major cities in Canada face two issues in common – traffic and unavailability of parking spots. In the GTA and Hamilton area, transportation is responsible for 34 % of total emissions.
With Canada’s rapidly growing e-commerce industry, private delivery companies have shown great interest in e-bikes. These include Canada Post, Purolator, DHL, Fedex, and Penguin PickUp.
Potential for bigger cargo e-bikes in Ontario
The new program with e-bikes weighing 120 kg was introduced after the success of smaller cargo e-bikes in Toronto. The definition of cargo e-bikes will keep changing throughout the pilot as more features are added to them.
Currently, an e-bike is an electric-powered bicycle with minimum speed of 32 km/hr and maximum output of 1,000 watts. They also must have a box or platform that can be used to transport packages or larger personal items. They are currently not allowed on highways.
Nazzareno Capano, manager of transportation policy and innovation at the City of Toronto, mentioned in an interview that with bigger storage capacity and increased flexibility, cargo e-bikes can become a permanent part of the city’s transportation.
Monitoring the pilot’s success
The pilot will monitor parking accessibility and overnight storage options of the cargo e-bikes. The program will go through several modifications until 2026 (when the pilot ends) and also assess how it is benefitting the locals, cities, and private companies. Zero-emission vehicles are the future of e-commerce delivery in Canada. It is not only a sustainable choice but also makes Canadian cities more liveable.