Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles 101

A green option that'll save you money

Electric vehicles don't use gas, and have lower maintenance costs due to fewer moving parts in the engine. While the sticker price can be higher, lower overall operating costs can help make EVs an affordable, green option for you.

According to Plug 'n Drive, you can break even on many EVs between 1 to 5 years.

Read more about ownership costs

Hear from electric vehicle owners

If you are thinking about buying an electric vehicle for the first time, one of the most helpful things you can do is to take in the experience of other EV owners.

According to more than 16,000 EV owners, pre-purchase concerns about driving range, cold weather performance, and battery degradation decline dramatically once you own an EV. So don't let old myths deter you from making the switch.

EV Society invites you to watch, listen and read the firsthand experiences of those who've already made the switch.

Engine types

Not all EVs are charged by being plugged in. Understanding the four different EV types will help you determine which is the best for your vehicle needs.

Zero-emission battery electric vehicles (BEVs)

Onboard batteries power one or more electric motors. Plug batteries into the electricity grid to recharge.

A good choice for you if:

  • You have the ability to charge at home
  • You want to maximize your environmental impact reductions
  • You live in an area with an established public charging network
  • You never want to visit a gas station again

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)

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

A good choice for you if:

  • You don't have the ability to charge at home
  • You want to consume less gas when you drive

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)

Powered by an internal-combustion engine and an electric motor. Plug the on-board battery into the grid to charge.

A good choice for you if:

  • You drive fewer kilometers per trip
  • You go on multi-day road trips frequently in areas that have limited public charging

Fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)

Fuel cells generate electricity by combining oxygen and hydrogen. Some FCEVs are just coming on the market, and few re-fuelling stations are available.

Electric vehicle tires

The engine isn't the only unique thing about an EV. The tires on an EV have been specifically engineered to withstand:

  • Additional weight
  • Dynamic loading
  • Tractive demands

Some owners have noted a short lifespan on their tires compared to those on gas-powered vehicles—sometimes drastically so.

A tire's influence on an EV's range is anywhere from 20 to 40 percent, whereas it's between 15 and 20 for a gas-powered vehicle. This means that the tires on your EV are one of the most important components when it comes to maintenance.

How clean are electric vehicles?

There are three key factors to consider when determining how clean EVs really are: vehicle and battery production emissions, cleanliness of the electricity used to charge the vehicle during its lifespan and the battery recycling/disposal process.

Vehicle production emissions

Vehicle manufacturing is more resource-intensive for EVs today than for producing gas-powered vehicles, due to the resource required for an EV's battery.

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. If the EV is charged using renewable energy, it can take as little as a year to be greener.

Advancements are also being made in the mining of the minerals for battery production, which is becoming cleaner and more efficient.

Cleanliness of electricity

EVs have zero tailpipe emissions but the power used to charge them can cause emissions. This can vary depending on location, and the cleanliness of the power grid.

For EVs to deliver the best GHG results, they should be charged using green power, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and more.

According to the Canadian Electricity Association, Canada generates electricity with more than an 80% GHG emissions-free electricity mix.

Battery recycling process

An EV battery retains up to 80 percent of its charge capacity at the end of its life and can be useful in applications such as wheelchairs and other devices; residential energy storage or back up power; and energy storage in renewable systems.

If an EV battery is not utilized for another purpose, Canadian companies, like Li-Cycle, are developing solutions that recover more than 95% of all raw materials found in lithium-ion batteries to further reduce emissions at the end of an EV's lifecycle.

EV Finder

There are a ton of options on the market – use our EV Finder to narrow down your search based on factors like cost, model, and driving needs.

Browse electric vehicle models

Companies announce new vehicles all the time, click below to see what is available and coming soon in Canada.