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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between battery electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles?

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are powered solely by electricity. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are powered by both gasoline and electricity. When a hybrid vehicle’s battery runs out of electricity, an internal combustion engine takes over to supply power. All electric vehicles also produce electricity through a process known as regenerative braking, which uses the vehicle’s electric motor to assist in slowing the vehicle, and to recover some of the energy normally converted to heat by the brakes.

What kinds of hybrid electric vehicles are there?

There are two types of hybrid electric vehicles on the market: hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Vehicles commonly known as Hybrids (HEVs) on the road today have two complementary drive systems and regenerate their own electricity to feed their batteries. They use a gasoline engine with a fuel tank, and an electric motor, battery and controls. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) run on a battery and electric drive train that depends on the power grid to charge the battery via plug-ins. They also have the support of an internal combustion engine that may be used to recharge the vehicle’s battery and/or to replace the electric drive train when the battery is low and more power is required. Typically, because plug-in hybrids use electricity from the power grid, consumers realize more savings than they would with a traditional hybrid car.

How do you recharge an electric vehicle?

Electric vehicles can typically be charged overnight from any regular household outlet. This takes approximately the same amount of energy as it would to heat a 40‑gallon (150-litre) hot water tank. There is an ever-expanding network of charging stations that provide 240V chargers and effectively cut charging time in half. A car needs a J1772 connecter to plug into a 240V outlet. Installation of this connector costs about $1,200. Some manufacturers also offer up to 480V fast chargers that provide an 80% recharge in 20 to 30 minutes. There are two types of fast recharge connectors: CHAdeMo and COMBO. Some manufacturers offer one or the other as an option. Retrofits are not possible if the vehicle is delivered without one.

How far can I drive before having to recharge my electric vehicle?

While range is affected by road conditions and driving habits, the current average is 140 to 450 km (depending on the make). Drivers of EVs generally adopt habits, like coasting to a stop, that dramatically reduce power consumption and stretch out the distance that can be travelled on a full charge.

How fast can an electric car go?

This largely depends on the vehicle’s make and model and the type of electric motor powering it. However, highway-capable electric vehicles can drive up to about 140 kilometers per hour, with acceleration comparable or superior to those running on internal combustion engines. Just like sub-compacts with internal combustion engines, smaller electric vehicles have lower rates of speed and acceleration.

Are electric vehicles safe?

Yes. Manufacturers of electric vehicles must meet all the same federal safety requirements as any vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. Because manufacturers have a vested interest in the success and sustainability of the electric vehicle industry, demonstrating that these vehicles are safe is a top priority. The Tesla Model S, for example, received the highest safety rating ever awarded to a vehicle under NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) tests.

How long do batteries last, and how much does it cost to replace them?

Electric vehicle batteries are covered by 8-year manufacture warranties, but the batteries can last much longer. At approximately 1/3 the cost of the car, they are expensive to replace, but prices are expected to drop substantially by 2020.

How well do electric vehicles do in winter?

The primary effect of cold weather on electric cars is a reduction in their range: one vehicle that was tested dropped from a range of 155 km on a warm day to just over 100 km average in the winter, and approximately 75 km in extreme cold weather (-25C).

Doesn’t the damage to the environment done by producing electricity outweigh the benefits of reducing gasoline and diesel consumption?

The bottom line is that the reduction of greenhouse gasses resulting from the utilization of electric cars more than offsets these concerns. To find out how much an EV generates in greenhouse gasses in your province, click here.

Why can’t I find an electric vehicle charging station near me on the map?

New charging stations are continually becoming available. We update the map data on a regular basis with new information about EV charging stations across the country. To let us know about a charging station, please email us.

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