Electric Vehicles

Cost of owning an electric vehicle

Electric vehicles are affordable

According to CAA's survey of 16,000 Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers, EV owners said their EV was more affordable than their gas vehicle. There are many ways EVs can be more affordable than a gas-powered vehicle.

Where you'll save money

Most EVs take less than five years to break even. With gas-powered vehicles, we're in the habit of separating purchase price from operating cost. But to objectively compare the prices of gas-powered vehicles with those of EVs, we have to look at both purchase price AND operating cost.

There are three ways you can save with an EV in the long run:

Reduced fuel costs

The average Canadian spends close to $3,000 on gas every year. A BEV doesn't require gas to roll, it requires electricity. The cost to fuel the average BEV over the course of a year is only a few hundred dollars.

Less maintenance

EV owners don't just save money on gas, they also spend less time at the shop, since EVs require less frequent and less complicated maintenance than conventional gas vehicles. The average BEV owner saves about 40% to 50% in maintenance compared to a gas-powered vehicle.

Cheaper insurance

Some insurance companies, like CAA, offer incentives and discounts for people who have electric or hybrid vehicles.

Calculate car costs

Compare the operating and ownership costs of thousands of vehicles on the road in Canada, including EVs.

Go to CAA Car Cost Website

Life-cycle costs

In Canada, most of our electricity is generated by low-emitting hydro and nuclear sources. That means EV ownership can help reduce your personal vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60%. Not to mention, this can result in savings of nearly $3,000/year on fuel.

While initial manufacturing emissions are higher for EVs, once on the road, EV emissions are so low that within 2 years gas-powered vehicles catch up and surpass the emissions from an EV.

Purchasing an electric vehicle

According to CAA's survey of 16,000 EV drivers, the vast majority (92%) of drivers purchased their EV new, while 7% leased their EV. As with any vehicle purchase, the choice to buy used, new or lease is an individual decision based on preference and financial situation.

A used EV may be for you if you are looking to save money on your initial purchase. Shopping for a used electric vehicle is a lot like shopping for any other used vehicle but remember that this is a new market – supply will continue to grow as more hit the road. CAA's survey of 16,000 EV drivers revealed that 17% of buyers acquired their EV used.

Plug-in America, a U.S. organization specializing in electric mobility, performed a detailed analysis of the electrical components of used vehicles and came up with a simple conclusion: if the battery is in good shape, buying a slightly used electric car is like buying a new car for less money, taking depreciation into account. The first wave of EVs had a shorter range, making them not suitable for all uses. But they might be a good solution for city dwellers, or suburban families who are looking to buy a second vehicle.

Tips for buying used

  • EV batteries degrade over time, which can reduce driving range. Ask the seller for details on the battery, like health, range, and age.
  • Battery replacements and repairs can cost thousands of dollars. Check if the used EV battery is still under the manufacturer warranty (usually 8-10 years).
  • Compare the capacity or driving range of a full charge with a new equivalent vehicle, this can show how much the battery has already degraded. The more range that has already been lost, the closer a battery is likely to be repaired or replaced.
  • As with any purchase, it's important to evaluate the vehicle's condition. Consider purchasing an independent pre-purchase inspection by a company specializing in EVs. Request a service record, which can be obtained from the dealership or from services like CARFAX.

Incentives and resources

Public and private incentive programs make it easier to afford an electric vehicle. According to CAA's survey of 16,000 EV drivers, the majority of EV drivers who received a government incentive cited them (73%) as having high influence on their purchase decision.

The Government of Canada's ZEV Program offers point-of-sale incentives of $2,500 to $5,000 for consumers who buy or lease a ZEV.

Visit the Government of Canada website to learn more

In addition to point of sale incentives, there are also a variety of rebates for home chargers available:

Visit Charge Hub to learn more

Government of British Columbia's Go Electric program is based on Individual – household Income requirements. Based on your income you can get:

  • $500 – $2000K in rebates for plug-in hybrids with range less than 85 km
  • $1,000 – $4000K rebates for battery electric and long-range plug-in hybrids
Visit Go Electric to learn more

Combines an internal-combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor. HEV batteries are charged by on-board operations, not by plugging into the grid.

Learn more about incentives available in Quebec

Drivers can save $2,500 on the purchase or lease of a 100% all-electric vehicle and $1,500 for a plug-in hybrid.

Learn more about incentives available in NL

Nova Scotians may be eligible for rebates of $3,000 per new vehicle, $2,000 for used vehicles and $500 for e-bikes.

Learn more about incentives on EV Assist

Rebates are available to New Brunswickers who purchase or lease a new or used electric vehicle at a licensed automobile dealership in New Brunswick. Incentives available include:

  • New Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV): $5,000
  • New long range Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV): $5,000
  • New PHEV: $2,500
  • Used BEV: $2,500
  • Used PHEV: $1,000
  • Electric Vehicle Home Charging Stations: $750

As of March 1, 2023 the total PEI Electric Vehicle and Charging incentive will be $5,750 for EVs and $3,250 for PHEVs.

Islanders who buy a new, fully electric vehicle may be eligible for up to $10,750 off the purchase price with the Federal Government incentive of $5,000 and the PEI Universal EV and Charging Incentive of $5,750 combined.

Learn more on the Prince Edward Island website