Is An Electric Vehicle Right For You?
Written by DriveAxis.ca June 08, 2022
Electric vehicles sit at the heart of a controversy surrounding environmental consciousness, versus soaring gas costs. Many factors contribute to the latter, including an inflationary spiral due to out-of-control government spending, and ancillary factors such as the war in Ukraine.
Now, more than ever, the debate over whether to buy an electric vehicle is surging. Though gas costs are expected to come down at some point, there’s nothing to prevent more catastrophes and incidents from driving it right back up again. As a Canadian, you might be wondering whether it’s time to pick up an electric vehicle. Here’s some things to consider.
EVs are notorious for having low range, but technology is helping to change that. Previous electric vehicles had trouble going even a minor distance without requiring a charge-up, but today’s offerings from companies like Tesla are changing this for the better. It’s not uncommon to see a fully-charged EV net around 200-400 kilometers of travel distance, which is fine for a daily commute.
However, Canada is quite a large country, and most residents enjoy hitting the road for long trips. With sparse availability of charging stations strewn throughout the country, it can be hard to justify buying an EV. As more charging stations are erected, this problem should abate, but a long trip will currently require some careful planning. If you enjoy hitting the road on long vacations and trips, consider investing in a hybrid, instead. The combination of EV and gas-powered technologies can net much higher travel distances in the 800-1000 kilometer range, and don’t require any charging stations.
While an EV can get by without having to fill up a gas tank, it will require a lengthy amount of time to fill up its own battery pack. This technology is constantly improving, but it won’t help anyone who is in a hurry. Even fast-charging stations take up to 30 minutes to achieve a partial charge capacity, which means they’ll need to be patient.
If that’s not an issue, then you won’t mind taking a break, or getting a bite to eat on a long trip. If your driving is mostly local, then you’ll undoubtedly be heading home to let your car charge overnight, and won’t notice. Still, it’s worth mentioning.
COST VS. INCENTIVES
The single-biggest barrier to entry when it comes to EVs is their exorbitant cost. It’s not cheap to buy an EV, which means the market is largely relegated to high income earners at this time. Yes, it is possible to purchase an EV that is a few years old, but ultra-expensive battery replacement costs could wipe out any money saved in the long run. Typically, EV batteries last around 10 years before requiring a replacement, and the price can soar well into the $10,000 and up range.
Of course, the money saved on gas during that period could be enough to offset the battery replacement cost, but each individual will have to decide whether it’s worth the investment, or not.
It’s also worth considering Canadian federal EV rebates and incentive programs, some of which can save buyers $2,000 to $5,000+ in initial costs. Provincial incentives, however, are a different matter, and not all of them are created equal. Some, like Ontario, do not offer rebate programs.
EVs are getting faster and faster, which is great news for sports car and speed enthusiasts who want more pep out of their driving experience. However, in order to access higher horsepower brackets, customers will have to pony up quite a lot of cash. It will be some time before superpowered EV engines are available in lower price brackets.
Environmentally conscious individuals who want to live a green lifestyle will love them, however. They won’t mind a drop in speed performance, if it means polluting less. The only caveat is that electric cars represent a fraction of cars on the road at this time. As that number increases, so too will the demand on energy grids to maintain them, at which point costs could go up, as well as carbon emissions. It is currently impossible to go 100% green energy without serious issues arising, such as timed rolling blackouts and energy storage problems.
The day will come when the technology will have evolved to solve this problem, but for now, it’s a tradeoff. There’s no telling what will happen if more and more people rely on EVs to get around, but it’s a challenge we’ll undoubtedly adapt to when the problem becomes larger.
There is a lot of speculation over the durability and performance of EVs during harsh Canadian winters, but much of it is based on outdated anecdotal evidence. The truth is that newer EVs are well-equipped for harsh winter climates, and can actually provide a few benefits.
First, the lack of a gearbox means less chance of slipping and sliding on ice and snow, which is a huge plus. Second, battery placement provides good weight distribution, allowing tires to achieve better traction in slippery conditions. And third, new EVs can heat up the interior of a car on a cold day with little trouble, which is a far cry from how things were just a few years ago.
The main drawback of an EV during a Canadian winter is the overall travel distance. Colder temperatures can affect battery performance, and reduce the amount of range the car has on a single charge. Therefore, it’s best to take this into account, so as not to get stranded during a commute. Those who drive locally and top up their battery every night shouldn’t have any issues, but others going on a winter road trip will need to calculate their car’s range, and plan ahead when it comes to accessing charging stations.
As with any purchase, an EV is not a one-size-fits-all purchase. Buyers will have to consider the pros and cons of an EV as they relate to their everyday routine, and their lifestyle choices. This will change over time as EV technology improves, and provides better performance for everyone, irrespective of where they live, how far they travel, or how fast they like to drive.
If you need help deciding if an electric vehicle is suitable for you, please feel free to contact us. We’ll answer your questions, and see if we can’t find an EV that is perfectly suited to your needs.