Should an electric vehicle be your next ride?
Published Friday, November 29, 2019 6:00AM PST
While not as abundant as their gasoline-fueled cousins, electric cars are becoming more popular. But from price, to range, and potential rebates, is an electric car right for you?
Electric vehicles have managed to bridge the gap between needing to commute and wanting to be environmentally friendly.
Have you ever thought about purchasing an electric vehicle? We break down the pros and cons for you.
It might be after Halloween, but don’t let the price tag scare you.
While prices range dramatically depending on make and model, many electric vehicles currently on the market start in the low to mid $30,000 range – and that’s before federal and provincial rebates take effect.
In Canada, the federal government offers discounts to consumers who purchase zero-emission cars under the Zero-Emission Vehicle Program. Consumers can receive up to $5,000 in discounts.
And good news for British Columbia; the province offers its own encouragement called the Clean Energy Vehicle Program, where can consumers can receive incentives of between $1,500 and $3,000.
Both programs are a first come, first served basis. It’s also important to know that there are deadlines for both the federal and provincial programs. Federally, the deadline is 2022 and in B.C. it ends in late March 2020 or when funding runs out.
Helen Harrison never thought she’d want an electric vehicle.
“Electric cars were for wacky enthusiasts who are looking for the latest, greatest new technology to adopt, or super wealthy people who don’t care if they get an $80,000 toy,” she said.
But now Harrison is seriously considering buying an electric vehicle, and she’s not alone.
A new survey by Consumer Reports revealed that 36 per cent of prospective car buyers would consider a plug-in electric vehicle for their next new car.
“A lot has to do with pricing,” said Jon Linkov, Consumer Reports auto expert. “The price points are much lower…before the federal tax credits that are available.”
For safety, affordability and cruising range, Consumer Reports recommends the Kia Niro and the Chevrolet Bolt.
Another important factor to know when buying an electric car is how far can they travel between charges?
The Kia Niro has a range of about 385 kilometers and retails for about $45,000. The Chevrolet Bolt has an electric range of 417 kilometres and also retails for almost $45,000. In British Columbia, both vehicles qualify for up to $8,000 in rebates.
“Many of these newer models have batteries that allow them to travel 200 miles or more on a single charge,” said Linkov.
Like the new Tesla Model 3 or the Nissan Leaf. But keep in mind battery range in electric vehicles decreases when energy is used to run the heater, and consumers will have to recharge cars overnight in order to maximize mileage.
But still, Harrison is unfazed.
Harrison has only test-driven a tesla so far, but she plans on trying out more, saying “I love the full package of the electric vehicle.”
“There’s something to worry about in every car that you are going buy. I’m very clear we should get an electric car,” said Harrison.
Consumer Reports says overall, consumers will save on maintenance and fuel over a similar gas-powered car.
In B.C, there are close to 26,000 electric vehicles on the road. BC Hydro predicts that by 2030, that number will rise to nearly 400,000.