Electric cars 101

Technological advances in low emission vehicles are slowly enticing more and more Canadians to ditch the pump for the plug. Here’s what you need to know if you’re curious about making the switch.

Not all electric vehicles (EVs) are created equally. 
There are three main types on the market today: hybrids, including plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Hybrid EVs rely on battery and gasoline - the battery is recharged by the engine through braking. Plug in hybrids work the same way and can also be plugged into the power grid to charge, thereby reducing operating costs.

Battery EVs such as the Tesla rely entirely on electricity to run. These EVs typically have a much higher upfront cost than conventional vehicles but the significantly lower operating costs will quickly result in overall savings.

Fuel cell EVs generate electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. These are the least prevalent cars on the market right now though are expected to be widespread in the near future.

Public charging stations are becoming more common and new housing developments often have vehicle-specific electrical outlets built in, a single-family home will likely need its own charger. Luckily, the cost for these is coming down and you can install a 240V adapter for $200 to $400 or a personal charging station for $600 to $1200. Most people find that their car’s range falls within their typical commuting distance.

Select provincial governments are encouraging EV ownership through a variety of rebate programs. You can knock off a few thousand dollars off the purchase price. 

Check with your insurance broker to find out more about your EV insurance options.