Electric vehicles save drivers thousands over life of vehicle: Report

Electric vehicles save drivers thousands over life of vehicle: Report

Sixty per cent of Canadians say it’s time to buy an EV and 51 per cent say they’ll never buy another gas-powered vehicle.

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Buying an electric vehicle could save tens-of-thousands of dollars over the life of a vehicle, according to a new report from Clean Energy Canada, a climate and clean energy program at Simon Fraser University.

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The report compares the total ownership costs of electric vehicles compared with their gas-powered equivalents, from purchasing, to refuelling, to maintenance.

In every case, electric vehicles come out cheaper than the gas alternative, according to the report.

“We looked at all the costs,” said Trevor Melanson, communications director with Clean Energy Canada, “and in every single comparison, the electric car came out cheaper.”

The report compares a number of Canada’s most popular car models, assuming each vehicle is owned for eight years and is driven 20,000 kilometres per year. The report assumes the cost of gas is $1.35 per litre, the average price for a litre of gas in Canada in 2021 and far below current fuel prices in B.C. Higher gas prices translate into greater savings for EV owners.

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Graphic compares lifetime costs of a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt with a 2022 Toyota Corolla hatchback.

Assuming gas prices of $2 per litre, Chevrolet’s popular battery-powered Bolt offers nearly $30,000 in savings over the eight-year life of the vehicle, when compared with the similar, gas-powered Toyota Corolla hatchback, according to the report.

While the bulk of savings from buying an EV come from lower fuel prices, reduced maintenance costs also make a significant contribution. Maintenance costs for a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt, for example, are nearly half that of a Toyota Corolla hatchback, a comparably priced gas vehicle.

According to a recent poll from KPMG, over 60 per cent of Canadians say it’s time to buy an EV and 51 per cent say they will never buy another gas-powered vehicle.

“The poll results show that rising fuel prices are a big catalyst in changing Canadian attitudes towards EVs,” Peter Hatges, national automotive sector leader of KPMG in Canada, said in a statement.

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Forty-eight per cent of those surveyed said they were “definitely buying an EV” because of gas prices, Hatges noted.

“The biggest challenge right now is not demand, it’s supply,” said Melanson. “The dream is that you can just go to a car dealership, see anything you like and just drive it home.”

The federal government currently offers a $5,000 rebate for eligible electric vehicles, in addition to provincial rebates. B.C. currently offers a $3,000 rebate for new or leased EVs as part of the Clean B.C. go Electric program. The rebate only applies to vehicles priced under $55,000. Rebates are also available for EV charging stations.

This week the federal government announced a requirement that 60 per cent of passenger vehicle sold in Canada will have to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030. By 2035, all new vehicle sales are expected to be zero-emission.

“A majority of Canadians think they’re going to get an EV now,” Melanson said. “It’s just a matter of when.”

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