Owning an electric vehicle (EV) means you can get out of paying for gas – as well as regular maintenance, such as oil changes and tune-ups – but even the cheapest electric car costs something to run.
If you’re thinking of buying for the first time, know that the best electric car for you is one that not only fits your budget, but your lifestyle. Do you have access to a charger? How far will you need to drive? These are all important questions. We break down what you can expect if you’re thinking of making the switch to an EV.
How much do EVs actually cost?
Right now, the cheapest electric car in Canada is the 2020 Volkswagen e-Golf, which is priced at $37, 895. It has a range of 198 km, which means you can get from Toronto to London, Ont., before you’ll need to charge the battery.
There are quite a few other affordable electric cars out there, such as the Mini Cooper SE at $39,990 and the Hyundai IONIQ for $41,449.
What’s all this about government rebates?
In an effort to make EV ownership more affordable for the average Canadian, the federal government offers a rebate of up to $5,000 for vehicles that meet their requirements. On top of that, some provinces offer their own rebates. If you’re lucky enough to live in B.C. you can get an additional rebate of $3,000, and in Quebec you can get $8,000.
How far can I travel?
It’s true that the more expensive electric cars include a longer battery range. The Tesla Model S can go for an estimated 663 km on a single charge, if you get the long range model. But with its price tag of $114, 990, it’s definitely not for everyone. Do some research ahead of time to figure out which is the best electric car for both the range you’ll need and the price point you can afford. Not sure where to start? Do some digging here.
Where can I charge it?
Once you’ve made the decision to buy an EV, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to charge it. If you live in an apartment or condo, check if the onsite parking garage has a charging station. If you live in a house, you can set up your own.
EVs come with a special cord to connect your car with a regular electrical outlet. This is known as a Level 1 charger, and it takes the longest to get your battery fully charged.
A Level 2 charger is the more common option, and kits start at $750 and go up to $1,300 (plus the cost of an electrician to install it). This allows you to charge your battery faster, but you should still plan on banking several hours if the battery is at its lowest point.
You can also find Level 3 chargers at some gas stations, car dealerships and parking garages. (This handy map can help you find the closest ones). These fast charging stations can take an hour or less to fully charge your battery and cost roughly $15/hour.
See also: Best cities to buy your first home in 2021.
Will my electric bill go up?
Short answer, yes. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a Level 1 or Level 2 charger, you’ll still be adding to your monthly electricity bill. Estimates vary depending on how often you need to charge up and the time of day you do it (evenings are cheapest), but you should assume your electricity bill will increase by an average of $500/year to charge your electric car at home.
You might also like: 20 things you should stop buying in 2021.