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What are the different types of EVs?

Number 1

Fully electric vehicles

Fully electric vehicles, also called battery electric vehicles (BEVs), are powered by an electric motor, instead of an internal combustion engine (ICE). A fully electric vehicle is charged by being plugged into an external electric outlet, and emits zero emissions when it’s driven.

Number 2

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) use both an electric motor and an ICE. The electric motor is powered by a battery, which is charged by being plugged into an external electric outlet. The ICE is powered by a fuel such as gas. Typically, the electric motor will power the vehicle until the battery is depleted, at which point it will automatically switch to use the ICE. PHEVs emit zero emissions when using the electric motor.

Number 3

Hybrid electric vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), also known as self-charging hybrid electric vehicles, use both an electric motor and an ICE. The electric motor is charged by the fuel powered engine and regenerative braking. It may be worth noting that HEVs do not qualify for the federal government’s incentive program, as it cannot operate without the use of the ICE.

Are EVs better for the environment?

Electric vehicles have an environmental advantage when compared to gas-powered vehicles because they don’t rely on burning carbon-emitting fossil fuels for power. Fully electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions when they’re driven – which means fewer greenhouse gases escaping into the Earth’s atmosphere.

You might be wondering about the environmental impact of manufacturing EVs. While it’s true that making an EV produces more emissions than a conventional car – in fact, more than a third of an EV’s lifetime emissions comes from manufacturing – a fully electric vehicle will produce fewer emissions over its lifetime because electricity is a lower-carbon fuel source than gas.

With that said, the source of electricity used to charge an EV will also have an impact on its overall emissions, as some grids emit more greenhouse gases than other.

Once an EV has reached the end of its usable life, its battery can be reused and recycled. Recycling old EV batteries to source critical materials like lithium, nickel and cobalt can help to further decrease an EV’s environmental impact over its lifecycle.

What’s the driving range of an EV?

If getting from point A to point B in your EV without running out of charge is your number one concern about EV adoption, you’re not alone. It’s possible to drive up to 400km in an EV, depending on the vehicle make and model, and the driving conditions of your journey. Considering that the average Canadian drives approximately 41km a day, running your daily errands shouldn’t be a problem in an EV.

The RBC Electric Car Cost calculator helps you calculate the cost to buy and own an EV in Canada

Electric car cost calculator

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How do you charge an EV?

Fully electric and plug-in hybrid EVs both require access to an external electrical outlet to charge. Depending on where you live, public charging stations may be available in your neighbourhood or condo building.

Many owners will consider installing an EV charger in their home. For speed and affordability, Level 2 chargers are a popular choice. The cost of a Level 2 charger starts at around $500, and you’ll need to consult a professional about getting it installed. Accounting for the cost of an at-home EV charger is an important factor when deciding if an EV is for you.

Read our guide to installing an EV charger at home

What about charging your EV for long distance driving?

If you’re planning a road trip, it’s likely that your destination will be beyond the bounds of your EV’s driving range. So, how easy is it to find public charging stations on the road? There’s not one answer to that question, and it’s largely dependent on where in the country you’re travelling and how available public EV charging points are in that area.

While Canada’s EV charging infrastructure continues to grow, it would be advisable to plot the locations where you can charge your vehicle ahead of your journey, so you can travel with confidence. There are over 5,000 EV charging stations across the country, and the federal government’s Zero Emissions Vehicle Infrastructure Program, also known as ZEVIP, has committed $680 million to public EV charging stations installation by 2027, so this number will grow over the coming years.

Find public EV charging stations

How much does an EV cost?

New EVs are available at a range of price points, with the Nissan Leaf being one of the most affordable electric cars on the market and starting at around $41,000.

If you plan to take advantage of the federal government’s Zero Emissions Vehicle incentive (iZEV) of $5,000, you will need to choose a vehicle that doesn’t exceed the set Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) limits:

  • For passenger cars, the base model MSRP must be less than $55,000, and up to $65,000 with higher priced trims
  • For station wagons, pickup trucks, SUVs, minivans, or vans, the base model MSRP must be less than $60,000, and up to $70,000 for higher priced trims
Read our guide for more information on federal and provincial incentives

Earn Avion Rewards points with an EV loan

Finance your EV with RBC and get 15,000 Avion points. Offer available until July 12, 2024.

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The RBC Electric Car Cost calculator helps you calculate the cost to buy and own an EV in Canada

Electric car cost calculator

Calculate the cost to buy and own an EV, and find out how much money you could save.

Calculate now

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