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Jan 19, 2024

5 min. read

Electric vehicles (EVs) are increasingly more common on the roads. With more consumers being eco-conscious, people have begun to make the switch from traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles to zero-emission electric cars.

Gas stations are abundant and, technically, so are electrical outlets. However, not all plug-in points are created equal, meaning EV owners may have to plan their route a bit more carefully than their gas counterparts.

The good news? Advancements in battery technology have greatly increased the distance electric cars can travel on a single charge, meaning range anxiety is nearly a thing of the past.

So, the question is: which is better for you – electric or gas vehicles? Well, here are a few things to consider:

Cost of the vehicle.

Electric vehicles (EVs) tend to be more expensive than regular cars due to the battery and the technology involved in manufacturing the car. To help off-set the cost, the Government of Canada introduced the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program which offers an incentive of up to $5,000 for customers who buy or sign a 48-month lease on all-electric cars. EVs with a battery size equal to or above 15kWh qualify for the full incentive while cars with a smaller battery capacity (or shorter lease term) qualify for smaller incentive amounts.

A blue car is plugged into an electric charging station.

Cost of fuelling/powering the vehicle.

Let’s compare the 2024 Hyundai KONA Electric and regular gas model.

The 2024 Hyundai KONA Electric retails for $49,051.17, has an all-electric range of 420 km and battery usage rate of 17.4 kWh/100 km.

The 2024 Hyundai KONA retails for $28,656.20 and has an average fuel consumption of 7.5 L/100 km. At the time of writing, the average cost of gas in Ontario is 144.5/L.

Now if you own an EV, you aren’t paying for gas but you will have to consider how you’ll charge your vehicle and how much electricity you’ll be using to charge it. Hydro One introduced a new Ultra-Low Overnight (ULO) price plan specifically designed for customers who use electricity at night like charging their EVs. On this plan, the electricity rate is $0.028/kWh from 11 p.m.–7 a.m. We’ll use this rate when determining the cost to charge an EV.

Before we get into the calculations, it’s important to note that NRCan uses a figure of 20,000 kilometres per year when calculating annual fuel costs for vehicles.

The cost to charge a 2024 Hyundai KONA Electric in a year: $0.028 (cost per kWh) x 17.4 kWh (battery usage per 100 km) = $0.48 (cost to charge 100 km) $0.48 x 4.2 (the all-electric range of 420 km) = $2.02 (cost to fully charge the battery) 20,000 km (yearly average driving distance) divided by 420 = 47.6 (number of charges per year) 47.6 x $2.02 = $96.15 (yearly cost of charging)

The cost to fuel a 2024 Hyundai KONA in a year: 20,000 km divided by 100 km distance = 200 km 7.5 L (average fuel consumption per 100 km) x 200 =1,500L 1,500L x $1.445 (cost per litre) = $2,167.50 (yearly cost of gas)

You can also reference the 2023 Fuel Consumption Guide from Natural Resources Canada to see which vehicles are the most fuel/energy efficient.

A man and a child putting a charger on a white car.

Time is money.

Electric vehicles require time to charge their batteries before you can hit the road. EV’s can be charged with three different power levels: Level 1, 2 and 3.

Level 1 is a standard electrical outlet (120 V) that you would use to charge your phone. It takes anywhere from 8–50+ hours to charge the battery.

Level 2 is a special electrical outlet (208/240 V) that would power a dryer and could charge the battery in 4–10 hours. This charger must be installed by a licensed electrician.

Level 3/DC Fast-Charging Connectors are 480–1000 V and take only 25-30 minutes to charge the vehicle to its maximum driving range, but these types of chargers are only available at dedicated stations, public spaces and highway corridors. According to Plug ‘N Drive, many Level 3 charging stations are pay-per-use and charge by the minute, averaging a cost of $15/hour.

It’s worth considering your driving habits: do you drive short distances to work or around town to run errands? Or, do you often take long road trips across the country? You can use PlugShare to find charging stations across the globe but not all will be Level 3 chargers so you may have to wait a while to power up your battery versus filling up your tank with gas and getting back on the road quickly.

Maintenance costs.

EVs typically have less maintenance costs than gasoline vehicles. Of course, EVs still require regular maintenance on things like brakes and tires but you won’t have to pay for services like oil changes, replacing spark plugs, swapping drive belts and more. It’s worth noting that EVs tend to be heavier than traditional cars due to the extra weight of the batteries so you may have to replace your tires more frequently.

CAA Auto Advice.

There are many things to consider if you are thinking about switching from a regular vehicle to an EV. It remains an excellent idea to do your homework before signing on the dotted line, of course, and that’s where CAA can help. As the leader in automotive information, we are well equipped to help you crunch the numbers on the path to making a good decision. Members can give our CAA Auto Advice experts a call toll-free at 1-866-464-6448 or email us at: autoadvice@caasco.ca

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