How much does it cost to charge an EV?
Unfortunately, finding out the cost to charge an electric car isn’t as straightforward as calculating the cost of a regular vehicle, where all you have to do is look at gas prices and the amount you’ve driven. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when estimating the cost of charging your electric vehicle – we’ll go over them below:
- Manufacturer stated fuel economy – Most electric vehicles can cover up to 100 kilometres within 15 kWh according to Energuide, but you’ll need to check with your manufacturer for a more exact value. This value also depends on the type of driving you’re doing (highway or city) – with city driving, you’d be needing to charge your car more often than someone who predominantly drives outside the city.
- Electricity costs –This will depend on whether you’re charging at home or if you’re predominantly charging your car up at charging stations. Public electric car charging stations will often charge by the hour and pricing can vary from location to location. Meanwhile, charging at home can be more cost friendly and straightforward. Regardless, to help you calculate an estimate of how you spend charging your vehicle, note the number of kilometers driven before you need to recharge as well as the amount you pay at charging stations or the cents/kWh rate you pay for electricity at home over a few months.
- Time of Use Rates – Depending on which province you live in, time of use rates may exist – choosing to charge your EV during off-peak or mid-peak hours would be largely different than charging during peak hours, in which electricity prices are higher.
- Charger costs – Indirect costs are also something to consider when thinking about the costs of charging EVs – a standard charger versus a level 2 charger will have significant differences. While a level 2 charger will charge up your vehicle faster, it can cost around $,2000 USD (about 2,500 CAD) for its parts and installation into your home, according to Kelley Blue Book.
How can an EV impact my electricity bill? Do time-of-use rates affect your EV charging costs?
This really depends on a few things. Like we mentioned earlier, charging your vehicle overnight or during off-peak hours can prevent your monthly electricity bill from skyrocketing.
Let’s take a look at the time of use pricing for Ontario on September 6, 2021, as an example – 8.2 cents per kWh was the price for off-peak use, 11.3 cents per kWh was the price for mid-peak use and 17.0 cents per kWh was the price for on-peak use. You could save more than half your charging costs if you chose to only charge during off-peak hours, in this case.
For individuals who don’t plan to charge at home, electricity bill impacts will be fewer to none – however, it can potentially cost more to charge in public stations than it does at home since many charge by time rather than the amount used.
Electric vehicles vs gas-powered cars: Which type is cheaper?
It may be surprising, but in terms of fuel consumption, electric vehicles come out on top. The table below shows a comparison by BCHydro in various BC cities of electricity vehicle energy consumption costs vs gas consumption costs for comparable vehicles (2020 Nissan Leaf S Plus vs 2020 Chevy Spark 1LT):
|City||Electricity Costs Per Year (2020 Nissan Leaf S Plus)||Fuel Costs Per Year (2020 Chevy Spark 1LT)|
As you can see, in this specific scenario, the costs of charging an electric vehicle were considerably lower than gasoline costs.
Additionally, a Forbes article also found that EV costs were generally cheaper. In the USA, operating an electric vehicle cost around $485 a year whereas the average amount for a regular gas-powered vehicle was $1117.
Furthermore, since electric vehicles have fewer moving parts, no exhaust system and fewer parts that need to be changed (e.g. no timing belts or fan belts), maintenance costs may also potentially be lower.
Overall, the costs of owning an electric car can potentially be lower than owning a regular gasoline car.
How is an electric vehicle’s fuel efficiency calculated?
Rather than using litres per 100 km (Canada) or miles per gallon (USA), Le/100 km (litres per 100 km equivalent) and MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent).
There are approximately 33.7 kWh per gallon of fuel according to the EPA and 8.9 kWh per litre according to NRCAN.
Are there any incentives for electric vehicle owners in Canada?
Below, we’ve sorted the incentives for electric vehicle owners in Canada by province:
- British Columbia – The CleanBC Go Electric light-duty vehicle rebate program offers up to:
-$3,000 for the purchase or lease of a new battery-electric vehicle, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, or longer-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
– $1,500 for the purchase or lease of a shorter-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Electric car rebates are available to BC residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and local government organizations – however, zero emission vehicles with a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) above $55,000 are not eligible for rebates.
- Ontario – Plug n’ Drive offers two incentives:
– Up to $1000 is provided towards the purchase of a used fully electric car by Used EV incentive program.
– Up to $1000 is offered towards the purchase of a used fully electric or plug-in hybrid electric car when you scrap your old gas-powered car via the Scrappage Incentive Program.
- Québec – The Québec government is offering individuals, businesses, organizations, and Québec municipalities a rebate of up to $8,000 on the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle. A table summarizing current available rebates in Québec is below:
|Vehicle Type||Other Conditions||Rebate Amount|
|All-electric vehicles||If the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is less than $60,000||$8,000|
|Plug-in hybrid vehicles||If the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is less than $60,000 The amount of the rebate is calculated based on the capacity of the battery.||$500, $4,000|
|Hydrogen-powered vehicles|| If the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is less than $60,000|
*Note: There are currently no eligible vehicles in this category.
|Limited-speed electric motorcycles (electric scooters)||$500|
- Newfoundland and Labrador – Drivers can receive incentives from $2,500 for shorter range plug-in hybrids to $5,000 for all-electric and longer-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
- New Brunswick – The government of New Brunswick has the following incentives available for assisting New Brunswickers who purchase or lease a new or used electric vehicle at a licensed automobile dealership:
– 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
- Prince Edward Island – The government of Prince Edward Island offers $5,000 to Islanders who purchase a new or used EV. Government will also offer $2,500 to those who buy a plug-in hybrid from April 1, 2021, onwards. Additionally, Islanders who utilize the PEI Universal EV Incentive (both BEV and PHEV) will receive a free Level 2 charger.
How does the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program work?
In addition to provincial incentives, there are also federal EV incentives – the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) program offers up to $5000 for purchasing or leasing new zero-emissions vehicles.
You can find a list of eligible vehicles here as well as the incentives for varying lease times.
Incentives from the iZEV program will be applied at the point of sale by the dealership. It will appear directly on the bill of sale or lease agreement on eligible ZEVs on, or after, the eligibility date. The dealer must apply taxes and fees to the purchase or lease before applying the incentive.
The dealer must submit the documentation required to be reimbursed for an incentive provided to consumers at the point of sale.
What are the most fuel-efficient electric cars in Canada?
Below is a table of the most fuel-efficient electric cars in Canada for 2021, as presented by NRCAN:
|Vehicle Class||Electric Vehicle|
170 kW electric motor, 2.0 L, 4 cylinder plug-in hybrid, 8-speed automatic with select shift
|Subcompact||BMW i3 (120 Ah)|
125 kW electric motor, 1-speed automatic
BMW i3s (120 Ah)
135 kW electric motor, 1-speed automatic
|Compact||Porsche Taycan 4S (Performance Battery)|
320 kW electric motor, 2-speed automatic
|Mid-size||Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus|
211 kW electric motor, 1-speed automatic
|Full-size||Tesla Model S Long Range|
494 kW electric motor, 1-speed automatic
|Small station wagon||Chevrolet Bolt EV|
150 kW electric motor, 1-speed automatic
Kia Soul EV (120 Ah)
150 kW electric motor, 1-speed automatic
|Sport utility vehicle: Small||Tesla Model Y Standard Range|
211 kW electric motor, 1-speed automatic
|Sport utility vehicle: Standard||Tesla Model X Long Range Plus|
398 kW electric motor, 1-speed automatic
|Minivan||Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid|
89 kW electric motor, 3.6 L, 6 cylinder plug-in hybrid, continuously variable
Is charging electric cars free? Where to find electric car charging stations across Canada?
Depending on your location, you may be able to find free public charging stations – sites like ChargeHub or PlugShare can help you locate such stations. Note, however, that paying to charge an electric car at public charging stations is fairly common.
Is charging an EV at home safe?
It’s safe to charge an electric car at home – however, just like regular electronics, there are some precautions you should consider:
- Only use charging adaptors provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer or by an electric vehicle supply equipment manufacturer.
- Don’t use modified or damaged charging equipment.
- Don’t use any faulty charging equipment.
- Don’t use household adaptors like a multi-box, double plug or a travel plug between electric vehicle supply equipment and a socket outlet.
How environmentally friendly are electric vehicles?
While electric vehicles generally don’t have tailpipe emissions, they can still indirectly contribute to emissions and pollution depending on how the electricity used to power electric vehicles is generated. Electricity grid power that was generated by fossil fuels going to fuel electric vehicles is only marginally better than gasoline fuelled vehicles emitting exhaust into the air.
Without investment towards cleaner energy sources, there’s a limit to how much electric vehicles can benefit the environment.
Additionally, as stated by a CBC article, electric vehicle batteries require lithium mining, which is connected to environmental harm such as water supply contamination as well as emissions from processing.
Corporate Knights Inc. released a report where a modelling study found that all new cars and SUVs sold by 2030 were 100% electric, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 33 million tonnes per year. Additionally, if 75-80% of all new trucks were electrified by 2030, GHG emissions could be reduced by 30 Mt per year.
How long do electric car batteries last?
That depends on a range of things such as the manufacturer, exposure to extreme temperature and charging habits. On average, your electric vehicle’s car battery loses 1-2% function per year – generally, most individuals will change vehicles long before their electric vehicle battery becomes unusable.
As a general estimate, you can expect an electric vehicle battery to last between 10-20 years before needing replacement.
Below are a few things to keep in mind in order to extend your electric vehicle’s battery life:
- Avoid prolonged usage in extreme weather conditions.
- Keep your battery charged between 60-80% – depleting your battery to 0% frequently will cause your battery to degrade faster.
- Fast charging your vehicle frequently will also cause your battery to degrade faster.
Is fast-charging an electric vehicle costlier?
Public charging stations will charge more for use of DC fast chargers since the equipment is expensive – according to a study from the International Council on Clean Transportation, DC Fast Chargers (DCFC) cost approximately $28,000 to $140,000 to install (per station).
How long does it take to charge an electric car at a charging station?
According to Kia, charging an electric car battery can take anywhere between half an hour or half a day, depending on your battery and the speed of the charging point you’re using.
Other things that will affect charging speed are the max charging rate of your vehicle, how much power is left in your battery, as well as weather conditions (charging in low temperatures takes longer than charging at moderate temperatures.)
What are the most common electric vehicle myths?
Below are several of the most common electric vehicle myths according to the EPA and BBC:
Electric vehicles are worse for the climate than gasoline cars because of the power plant emissions.
- Even accounting for emissions that are released when electricity is generated for electric vehicle use, research shows that an EV is typically responsible for lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) than an average new gasoline car.
Electric vehicles don’t have enough range to handle daily travel demands.
- Electric vehicles are more than sufficient to handle daily household travel, which equates to about 50 miles (~80 km) for a typical USA household. Many electric vehicle models can travel 200 miles (~321 km) on a fully charged battery.
Electric vehicles only come as sedans.
- Electric vehicles come in a variety of shapes and sizes – if you review our section about what electric vehicles are the most fuel-efficient for 2021, you’ll see that electric vehicles range from compact cars to minivans.
There is nowhere to charge.
- In the States, there are over 38,000 charging stations available. According to Plug n’ Drive, there are currently over 5,000 charging stations in Canada.
Electric vehicles are worse for the climate than gasoline cars because of battery manufacturing.
The greenhouse gas emissions associated with an electric vehicle over its lifetime are typically lower than those from an average gasoline-powered vehicle, even when accounting for manufacturing.
You can compare the overall greenhouse gas emissions between a gas vs electric vehicle in the graph by the U.S Department of Energy:
Source: https://greet.es.anl.gov/ (2019)
Electric vehicles aren’t safe because the battery can be an additional hazard in the event of an accident.
- The same risks exist for all drivers, regardless of how the vehicle is powered. Precautions, such as collision detectors, cooling systems and protective coverings are available in electric vehicles.
How to reduce electric car charging costs?
Below are a few tips you can try for reducing electric car charging costs:
- If you primarily charge your car at home and you’re in an area affected by time-of-use rates, try to do most of your charging during off-peak hours.
- Use tools like EnergyRates.ca to find the lowest electricity rates in your area.
- For individuals who need to charge at public charging stations, research and compare the price of charging at various stations. Additionally, charging electric cars for free is a possibility at some stations.
- Avoid charging your car in cold temperatures as low temperatures will slow down the rate your EV charges at.
As we’ve mentioned above, one way to maximize your electric car savings is through using cost comparison tools like EnergyRates.ca – you can find the lowest electricity rates in provinces where electricity is deregulated (Alberta and Ontario). Plus, our experts can also help you find green energy rates and plans to help you further limit your carbon footprint.
Learn more: What is Electrification, and How Does it Affect Energy Markets?