Everything You Need to Know
An electric vehicle will cost more upfront than a traditional gas-powered vehicle when purchasing new. Although prices are coming down, MSRP is still higher when compared to a similar-sized gas model.
But with British Columbia and Canadian Federal Rebates, you could save up to $8000, making the switch to electric vehicles more affordable.
But is that really the whole story? Let's take a deep dive into the actual costs of EV ownership to see where the real savings are. Let’s take a peek.
The Cost of EV Ownership
Let's take a look at the 2023 Kia Niro EV as an example of ownership costs.
The Kia Niro
The Kia Niro is a zippy 5-passenger 5-door compact SUV that fits nicely between the Soul and Seltos in the Kia line-up. It is available as a hybrid (HEV) for excellent fuel economy, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) for 42kms of all-electric range and excellent fuel economy, and full battery electric vehicle (EV) for 385 kms of all-electric range.
We've chosen the Niro because it's a great size, and comparable to many models from other manufacturers. For this article, we'll be taking a peek at the Kia Niro EV EX, which boasts 385 kms of all electric range.
Estimated fuel economy is 1.9 Le/100kms based on CITY driving. Unlike a gas engine, it will be higher for highway driving conditions.
Level 3 DC fast charge 50kWh - charging to 80% - will take about 75 minutes
Level 3 DC fast charge 100kWh - charging to 80% - will take about 54 minutes
Level 2 charging to 100% - will take about 9.5 hours
Level 1 charging to 100% - will take about 59 hours
A Level 2 home charging unit will cost about $750 installed by a licensed electrician, with available 2022 rebates.
The current cost to charge an EV at home in BC is about $2/100kms, based on 2022 BC Hydro rates. Therefore, based on driving 20,000 kms annually, the Kia Niro EV EX will cost you about $400 in fuel costs.
Away from home, you'll find that most charging stations are free. However, most places still require you to sign into an app such as Flo or ChargePoint to charge your vehicle, whether you need to pay or not. As of April 2022, there are 236 charging stations in Victoria, BC. 83% are free.
Pay-per-use Level 2 charging stations – these typically charge $1 or $2 per hour. This puts the cost at around $5 for 100 km of driving when you pay $2 per hour at an approximate rate of 30 km of range per hour. Beginning on January 4, 2021, a $1 per hour EV charging fee came into effect for all City-owned EV chargers in Victoria. Parking and EV charging fees are combined and paid for using the FLO App or using your preloaded FLO purchase card on Broad Street and in the Johnson Street parkade.
Pay-per-use Level 3 fast charging stations – the cost charging varies wildly. You’re charged based on time, but how much charge your vehicle can accept in that time changes based on the temperature, your current charge level, and several other factors. Here’s an example of what to expect at a pay-per-use charging station: a BC Hydro run 50 kW Level 3 charger at the University of Victoria costs 21.13 cents per minute + GST. This Level 2 fast Charger can be activated by using the BC Hydro EV App/RFID Card, FLO App/RFID Card, or by calling 1 866 338 3369 to have the charge initiated remotely. Typically, pay-per-use chargers are installed and run by third parties such as BC Hydro, Flo, or ChargePoint. A 50-kW Level 3 fast charger like this one will add around 100 km of range in about 20 minutes, at a cost of approximately $4.50.
Pay-per-use Level 4 ultra fast charging stations – A 350-kW Level 4 charger, the fastest currently offered, can add 100 km in as little as four minutes, at a price of less than $3. There are zero Level 4 chargers in Victoria, currently.
Manufacturer Recommended Maintenance
Recommended service intervals for an electric Kia are every 12,000 kms. This article covers the cost of running an EV for one year - so in that time you would only service your vehicle once. At 20,000 kms, recommended maintenance would be a Service #1 at 12,000 kms, and Service #2 at 24,000. The cost for both services would be $410, but technically you would just perform one service in that time. We've added both in here because some years you'll need to do both based on when your service schedule falls.
Total costs to drive a Kia Niro EV 20,000 kms is about $810, if you exclusively charge from home. If you're a Level 3 DC Fast Charging aficionado, you'll pay a bit more.
The Cost of EV Ownership
But what would a similar sized traditional gas-powered car cost to run annually? Let's take a peek.
A similar-sized gas car is the Forte5 EX, which is $24,340 including MSRP and freight. MSRP of the Niro EX EV including freight, $3000 provincial rebate, and $5000 federal rebate is $38,790.
The Forte5 EX should get about 7.9 L/100kms based on city driving. Current gas prices as of May 1, 2022, are $1.979 per litre. Therefore, the average cost to run is approximately $15.63/100 kms. Based on 20,000 kms annually, this is $3,126 is fuel costs.
Service intervals for gas vehicles are every 6000 kms. There are four service types that alternate on a 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 4 basis. For this article we'll just use the most common services: #1 and #2. The cost for these is about $130 and $250, or $380.
Therefore, the annual cost to run a similar gas-powered vehicle is about $3506. Compare that to the Kia Niro EV at $810 and it's easy to see how you can make up the gap in MSRP. The $14,450 difference in price tag is bridged in about 5 years of EV ownership.
COST TO CHARGE
The current cost to charge an EV in BC is about $2/100kms. Based on 20,000 kms annually, you'll pay about $400.
Recommended service intervals for an electric Kia are every 12,000 kms. Service #1 is about $125, and Service #2 is around $300.
The cost of a Level 2 charging station is about $750, installed by a licensed electrician. This includes available BC rebates.
A similar sized traditional gas-powered car will cost about $3500 in gas and maintenance.
Based on these figures, it's easy to see that the cost of ownership makes the initial upfront costs of purchasing an EV more reasonable.
MSRP on a gas-powered vehicle will be lower, but if you add in the benefits to the environment, the high resale value, access to HOV lanes, prime parking spots with charging, and a smaller personal environmental footprint, it's much easier to bridge the gap.
Each year prices are coming down, making them more affordable. And each year, more used electric vehicles are coming available as the first waves of owners trade-in on a new electric vehicle, putting EV ownership within the grasp of more people.