Electric vehicles save Canadian drivers thousands over car’s lifetime, even at lower gas prices: analysis

VANCOUVER — As record gas prices collide with the increasing impacts of climate change, more Canadians are considering the merits of switching to an electric vehicle.

But weighing up gas pump savings with the typically higher upfront cost of an EV can be complex. 

New analysis released today by Clean Energy Canada provides a clearer picture for consumers, calculating the total ownership costs of equivalent electric and gas cars, from purchasing, to refuelling, to maintenance. 

And in every case, the electric car comes out cheaper than the gas alternative.

The report, The True Cost, considers a number of Canada’s most popular car models and assumes each vehicle is owned for eight years, driven 20,000 kilometers annually, and (in the case of gas cars) fuelled with $1.35-per-litre-gasoline (the 2021 average).

For four out of our six comparisons, the total cost savings of going electric are in the order of $15,000 to over $19,000.

For example, the electric Hyundai Kona, Canada’s second-best selling EV, is $15,000 cheaper to own overall than the modestly priced gas Hyundai Kona. And if gas prices were to average $2, as we’ve seen in parts of Canada this past month, savings jump to $24,000.

“Ultimately, the road to clean energy is the road to affordable energy,” said Clean Energy Canada transportation program manager Joanna Kyriazis. “With gas pump prices squeezing Canadian wallets while climate impacts are felt across the country, the true cost of gas vehicles is even greater than we think.”

KEY FACTS

  • Roughly 80% of Canadians are open to buying an EV for their next vehicle, according to a poll by Clean Energy Canada and Abacus Data.
  • 51% of Canadians say they will never buy a gas-powered vehicle again, while 61% say rising gas prices and oil supply challenges have convinced them it’s time to buy an EV, according to a recent poll by KPMG.
  • There are currently 68 electric vehicle models available in Canada, with at least 130 models coming to market by 2023. These include a range of vehicle types and price points.
  • The federal government offers a $5,000 rebate off the sticker price of eligible EVs. This can be stacked with additional provincial rebates in Quebec, New Brunswick, Yukon, P.E.I., B.C., Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • The government of B.C. added a provincial sales tax exemption for used electric vehicles in its most recent budget. Rebate programs in Quebec, New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador also support used EVs. 
  • It costs between $5 and $13 to completely charge a 416-kilometre-range 2022 Chevy Bolt, depending on which Canadian province you live in.
  • A majority of car dealerships across Canada don’t have a single EV in stock, according to a report commissioned by Transport Canada last year. Outside of B.C., Quebec and Ontario, that percentage rises to over 80% of dealerships with no EV inventory at all.
  • In its Emissions Reduction Plan released this week, the federal government unveiled a zero-emission vehicle supply mandate requiring 20% of light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission by 2026. The requirement increases to 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.

RESOURCES

Report | The True Cost

Blog | Five must-haves for an effective zero emission vehicle standard

Op-ed | What can feds do to support emerging electric vehicle industry? (Hill Times)

Poll | Almost 80% of Canadians open to owning an electric vehicle

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