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Everything You Need to Know About Buying an Electric Vehicle

PART 4: COST SAVINGS AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Welcome to Part Four of our Five-Part Series: Everything You Need to Know About Buying an Electric Vehicle. In this installment, we’ll cover all of your questions about environmental footprint and cost savings over gas-powered vehicles. Does it really make that much of an impact?

COST SAVINGS

Original first generation EVs were very costly. But with technological advancements, both initial vehicle cost and maintenance have gone down. The mass production of batteries and available tax incentives have further brought the cost down making them more affordable.

Currently, there are provincial and federal incentives available, up to $8000.

The BC Provincial Go Electric Incentive Program provides:

  • $3,000 for the purchase or lease of a new battery-electric vehicle, hydrogen fuel cell electric, or longer-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
  • $1,500 for the purchase or lease of a shorter range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
  • *Eligibility requirements apply

The Federal Zero-Emission Vehicle Incentive Program provides:

  • $5,000 for the purchase or lease of a new battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and longer-range plug-in hybrid vehicles.
  • $2,500 for the purchase or lease of a shorter range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
  • *Eligibility requirements apply

In addition to these incentives, you may be eligible for SCRAP-IT, a B.C. program that offers incentives to scrap high-polluting vehicles when you buy a new or used EV – or other types of low-carbon transportation. Plus the Government of BC is working BC Hydro and Fortis BC to offer provincial rebates for the purchase and installation of EV chargers.

  • Visit our article entitled How to Apply for EV Rebates or visit Go Electric to learn more about the plan and read the full strategy.
  • Here’s information on incentives for buying EVs in British Columbia.
  • For information on the Scrap-It program, head over to https://scrapit.ca/.

But how do the costs of actually running your vehicle stack up?

Gas-powered vehicles do seem to be better valued at purchase, but their long-term fuel and maintenance costs can mount up quickly. Oil changes, scheduled maintenance, replacement parts, and gas alone can add up quickly, especially as the vehicle ages. The average driver pays about $100 per month in vehicle maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle.

Let’s take a peek at the cost savings in detail.

 

Fuel

  • Fuel costs are the most obvious way an EV can save you money over a gas-powered vehicle: conventional gasoline-powered engine vehicles are roughly three times more expensive to fuel than EVs.
  • Electricity is less expensive and has a more stable price than gasoline. According to BC Hydro, EVs pay about $2/100kms in electricity costs.
  • Driving about 20,000 kms per year, you can save roughly $2550 in fuel savings with a Kia Soul or Niro EV.
  • Driving about 18,500 kms per year, you can save roughly $1800 in fuel savings with a Niro PHEV.
  • The emissions savings in fueling an EV vs a gas-powered vehicle is the equivalent of planting about 241 trees per year.

 

Maintenance

With far fewer moving mechanical parts EVs should be less costly to own, requiring a lot less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles. For instance, the brakes in an EV can last over 300,000 km because most braking is regenerative. This means that instead of using the brakes, the electric motor slows down the vehicle, and captures that energy to recharge the battery. They simply just cost less to maintain.

EVs require two types of servicing at Kia Victoria every 12,000 kms. Service #1 is smaller and includes tire rotation and battery tests, plus an inspection of the breaks, fluids, and gear control. Service #2 is more in-depth and includes brake service.

 

Insurance

It is true that insurance costs for EVs tend to be slightly more expensive than gas-powered vehicles. This is because servicing and parts for electric vehicles are currently more specialized. However, it is important to keep in mind that the risk profile of the driver of the car and accident history takes greater priority over the insurance rating of a car so for many drivers the increased insurance cost is minimal at best.

 

Battery

A replacement battery can be expensive, but unlike the frequent costs of maintaining a gas-powered vehicle, there's every possibility your battery could require no maintenance during your ownership period. Some long-term EV owners claim that their only maintenance costs have been windscreen washer fluid and new tires. Currently, Kia Canada offers an industry-leading 8-year/160,000-kilometre warranty for their vehicles, including the batteries. If a battery replacement is required at the 10-year-mark for a 2020 Kia Soul, for example, the driver would have already saved over $26,000 in fuel savings alone over the period of ownership, more than making up for the cost of the replacement battery.

 

Calculate your savings at BC Hydro.

 

TIPS: Take advantage of free or affordable charging stations whenever possible. Drive steadily, with gradual acceleration, and ensure tires are properly inflated for maximum efficiency.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

In BC, charging and driving an EV produces just 10% of the greenhouse gases emitted by an equivalent gas-powered vehicle covering the same distance. In other parts of Canada, where electricity may be generated using fossil fuels such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Maritimes, driving an EV is only marginally better in regard to net CO2 output when charged from the electricity grid. But technology is changing every day. Even the dirtiest power is getting cleaner every year.

According to BC Hydro, electricity generation accounts for less than 1% of BC’s greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, in the United States – which still relies heavily on fossil fuel to produce power – emissions from electricity generation account for 28% of total GHG emissions. In Australia, that number is 37%.

PHEVs

PHEVs have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. Considering most Canadians do most of their driving close to home, much of the typical day-to-day driving could potentially be done with the electric engine alone, leaving the gasoline engine for longer road trips and busy Saturdays running kids back and forth (and back again), reducing their footprint even more.

EVs

EVs do not emit any of the harmful emissions that are created by traditional gasoline-powered engines and are as clean as the energy they use for their power. They are zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), making them an excellent choice when compared to traditional vehicles.

TIP: Install a solar panel to power to fuel your at-home charging station for a truly green driving experience.

 

We hope you found this article helpful. Stay tuned for PART FIVE: Buying Used EVs. We’ve included everything you need to know about buying a preloved electric vehicle.

 

Did you miss one? Want to skip ahead?

PART ONE: KNOW YOUR VEHICLES

PART TWO: CHARING AND CHARGERS

PART THREE: BATTERIES

PART FIVE: BUYING A USED EV