Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more common as some of the largest automakers in the world (such as Ford, Volkswagen and Honda) are investing billions to expand their EV programs. While automakers are shifting to focus almost entirely on EVs, there are still plenty of questions, myths, and uncertainty around EVs amongst car buyers.
Concerns with electric vehicles
Announced on June 29th 2021, The Government of Canada has set a goal for less emissions from passenger vehicles by implementing the rule that 100% of all new car and passenger trucks sold must be zero-emissions vehicles by 2035.
From purchase price to charging limitations, there’s a wide range of skepticism towards EVs and whether owning one is feasible for Canadians. Thankfully, as many questions as there are, there is plenty of information available that may help alleviate some of the concerns with embracing this switch. Let’s walk through some of the most common concerns:
Electric vehicles are too expensive to buy
When electric vehicles first started to rollout from the major auto manufacturers, most were seen as a luxury. The major driver of the high prices was the battery. When new batteries are introduced, the costs of materials, development and many other elements cause their price to start high. Thankfully, the more EVs on the road, the lower the price to make the batteries!
On top of the declining prices of EVs, the government of Canada offers up to $5000 as an incentive to purchase a zero-emission vehicle through their iZEV program. Some provinces even offer additional financial incentives on top of the federal allotment. To view a list of what your province offers, head over to plugndrive.ca and see what options are available.
With prices beginning to decrease, and federal and provincial incentives in place it’s becoming more feasible for the average Canadian to get behind the wheel of an EV.
Replacement batteries for EVs are expensive
In 2019 the price of EV batteries dropped 13.4% from the previous year in the United States. So, as more major companies start building and selling more EVs, you’ll likely see this trend of declining battery prices that is happening in the US reach other countries, including Canada. Some analysts are even saying that by 2025, EV’s are going to be cheaper than gas-powered vehicles based on the current battery price trends.
As well, one of the major hesitations for purchasing an electric vehicle is the maintenance. Though routine maintenance costs will decrease as you won’t need oil changes or as many belt replacements, the lifespan of batteries is definitely something to keep in mind. Thankfully, much like the price of EVs, the more batteries are produced, the cheaper the price of the battery becomes. If a full replacement is something on the horizon for an EV battery, it still should net out cheaper than the cost of routine vehicle maintenance for a gas-powered vehicle.
Most shops don’t do repairs on electric vehicles
As more and more EVs start hitting the roads, repairs will be an important part of keeping yourself and others safe. The parts in an EV are very different from those in a gas-powered vehicle and because of that, many service shops aren’t equipped to provide repairs for them - yet. Outside of major cities, there can currently be a lack of options for EV owners to get service performed. Commonly, an owner will need to drive to the closest major city, which could be hours away, to get minor or major maintenance completed.
Thankfully, like many other aspects of expanding EVs throughout Canada, the more that there are on the road, the more you’ll see shops start to provide maintenance services. Supply and demand will drive this change, so as Canada continues to see EV sales numbers increase, don’t be surprised to see the amount of service shops that can support them also increase.
Charging at home is expensive
There are obviously costs associated with using your home electricity to charge an EV. However, when compared to the cost of filling up your tank with gas, in nearly every situation it is cheaper to charge an electric vehicle. With EVs, there are some initial costs that make the optics of charging at home seem more expensive. Depending on your battery size, you’ll most likely need to purchase an at-home charging station as well as get it professionally installed. In Canada, the charging unit will range from about $300 - $700, and installation can range from $1200 - $2000, depending on the charger type you select. Thankfully, there are rebates and incentives across Canada that can help with these costs; see what’s available in your province here.
Road trips aren’t feasible because there is a lack of chargers
When EVs first came into the picture, charging your vehicle at home was pretty much your only option because there weren’t many public charging stations available. Thankfully, the Canadian government has invested over $450 million into creating a network of quick-charging stations that travelers can use with the goal of having more than 16,500 electric vehicle chargers across Canada. There are already plenty of chargers across the country, and you can plan your trip using this handy map from PlugShare. This also helps with the common concern about the range of electric vehicles - the more charge stations there are, the less chance you’ll be out of range when you need one.
Charging your car takes a long time
When it comes to filling up quickly and getting back on the road, fuel still reigns supreme. While you might be saving money with each charge compared to filling up with gasoline, if you wanted to charge to 100% it can take multiple hours, especially since many public rapid charging stations slow down once the battery hits 80%. This means that changing your perception of ‘filling up’ while on road trips will be essential. Instead of going for a full charge, ‘topping up’ when you’re at a charge station may be the better route to go.
Even though finding a charge station is getting far easier, using a rapid charge station to get your battery up to 70 or 80% will still take around 30 minutes to an hour. We suggest you plan ahead to enjoy a meal or some other activity while your vehicle charges. This will not only minimize the charging downtime but will also allow you to explore the area you’re in more.
Buying a used electric vehicle is risky
When buying a new-to-you technology it’s natural that some of the unknowns may feel scary or risky; it’s hard to move away from something you’ve known your entire life. When buying a used EV, there are still many of the same questions that you’ll need to ask, and many of them are similar to ones you’d ask when buying a used gas-powered vehicle.
Usually, the biggest concern when buying a used EV is the battery life. On older EV models, the battery technology was still up-and-coming and that led to a shorter timeframe before you’d need to replace it. In general, with regular wear and tear, it would take roughly 5 years before you would see a reduction to the battery life, and even then, it was only about a 10% reduction. In Canada, there is a standard warranty for battery coverage up to 8 years.
Whether you’re concerned about the battery life when buying a used electric vehicle or not, before you purchase, be sure to get a pre-purchase inspection of the car and find out the performance of the battery before you buy it. As well, make sure that you inquire about the remaining warranty. Battery replacement is still currently an expensive service, so make sure you ask the questions before getting behind the wheel.