E-VIP - The Electric Vehicle Information Portal Project

Purchasing an Electric Vehicle

Protecting our planet for generations to come.


True, at the moment comparing a class of electric vehicle to the same class of a gas powered vehicle, the electric vehicle is more expensive. Most are in the range of just under 40,000 to $65000. Offsetting this is the reduced cost of operation over the life of the vehicle. Electric motors have far fewer moving parts than a gas or diesel engine to wear out with the extra advantage of no oil changes, air cleaners, fan belts, etc. While electricity rates seem high, comparing energy use per kilometer of driving show a higher cost of operation for gas and diesel than electricity. Usually, the higher initial cost to purchase is offset within a few years of EV ownership with savings in fuel and servicing. A 5 year total cost of ownership between comparable EV and ICE vehicles typically show that it is around 30% cheaper to drive the EV.

This is a common question and is typically associated with what is called range anxiety. The answer is that the range varies widely but most newer model EV can go at least 350 km between charges and up to 600 km. 700-900 km ranges or more, are just a few years away.

Certainly! There are two options for charging your EV at home.

  • Level 1 – You can plug into a regular 110 volt, 15 amp receptacle that you might have located on your porch, side of your house or garage. Every EV sold has a plug and cord to plug into a wall outlet. This method is the slowest method to charge and depending on the battery size in your vehicle could take up to full day or more to recharge a low battery to full but this option does ensure that you can charge anywhere you happen to be. A typical charge rate would yield 7 or 8 km per hour of charge
  • Level 2 – You can install a 240 Volt, 30-60 amps EV charger at home (it is comparable to your stove or dryer circuit). Most EV owners will opt for this at a cost of around $800 to $2,500 because it reduces the charging time to a few hours. It is a worthwhile investment. Most charging is done overnight when electricity rates are cheaper. A typical charge rate could be a high as 80 km per hour of charge.

Again, there are several options,

  • You can visit one of the many locations that have a level 2 charger. Some are free to use, sponsored by businesses or local governments while others may have associated charges.
  • Level 3 – You can visit a commercial charging station and use a Quick DC charger. These usually do have fees involved but are extremely fast and rated at 30-45 minutes to charge to 80% from an empty battery. EV owners are reporting that the charging times can be quicker than 30 minutes, in some cases as low as 15-20 minutes. They can be found along major highways and designed to enable long distance trips. Initial charge rates for version 3 Tesla superchargers can be as high as 1400km per hour allowing for 15-30 minute charges to 80%

True, but easily understood. In North America the most common connector (think of the plug) is the SAE J1772 (for Level 1 and 2 charging) which is built into most makes and models and charging stations in Canada and the US. In addition to this is the Level 3 CCS (Combined Charging System) primarily used by European auto makers and the Level 3 CHAdeMO (Charge de Move) used by the Asian auto makers. Each of these are different in design and are not interchangeable, but many of the Level 3 charging stations provide both CCS and CHAdeMO plugs so you won’t be stuck with no way to charge.

Tesla has its own charging standards, stations and network which are not compatible with the above in that you can’t plug your J1772, CCS or CHAdeMO into a Tesla charging station but Tesla owners do have an option to purchase a CHAdeMo adaptor to plug into a Level 3 charger. Recently some of the non Tesla charging networks have begun to offer Tesla connectors as well. The Tesla charging network also has the advantage of being very extensive in both Canada and the US. You can currently drive from Nova Scotia to BC with Tesla Superchargers on the TransCanada. They are spaced about every 200 km.

These vehicles have been engineered to be extremely safe. The electronics built into an EV checks for faults when it is plugged in and the charging stations will not dispense power until it is requested by the vehicle. Simply put, if there is a fault, the vehicle won’t ask for power and none will be provided through the network so EVs can be charged outside in all types of weather.

Lithium-ion batteries have an ideal operating temperature where they are the most efficient and cold temperatures do slow battery chemical reactions reducing power output, but electric vehicles are designed to protect themselves with onboard heaters to warm the battery. It is normal for the range on a full charge to be reduced in cold temperatures depending on factors such as how cold it is and heating the interior cabin. Most EV owners will report a drastic reduction (from 10 -40% depending upon temperature) in range while using heaters to keep warm. All vehicles use more energy in winter. However, because ICE vehicles are inefficient heat engines all that waste heat is available to heat the cabin. EV’s generate very little heat and so must use battery power to heat the cabin. With the improved ranges of current models and the introduction of heat pumps on some models, this is becoming less of an issue. With proper planning most trips are still well within the reduced range of current models. EV owners can also pre-warm the car while the vehicle is still plugged into a charging station drawing power from the grid prior to leaving to avoid depleting the battery and then use a lower heater setting with seat warmers (which use less energy than the cabin heaters on full blast) to keep warm.
There is not much noticeable difference in vehicle performance during cold weather and the same holds true for the opposite situation during extreme summer heat and using air conditioning.

Further reading can be found here in an American Automobile Association study, AAA ELECTRIC VEHICLE RANGE TESTING, © 2019 American Automobile Association, Inc.

On board mapping software available to EVs include links to find the nearest charging station. Two of the most popular networks that list public charging stations are:

PlugShare, and ChargeHub

Tesla navigation automatically includes stops at Superchargers and even tells you what the state of charge will be when you arrive and approximately how long it will take to charge to 80% when you get there.

The cost to recharge a depleted battery to a full charge will depend on the size of the battery in the EV. Battery sizes can range from a low of 8.8kWH (Subaru Crosstreck Plug in Hybrid) to 100 kWh (Tesla Model X and S – Long Range). If charging at home and the current price per kWh is 0.13 cents charging to 100 kWh would cost $13.00. Most EV drivers charge during off peak hours when electricity rates are cheaper. Charging away from home at commercial lots varies from charger to charger. Typically Level 2 chargers are sponsored by businesses or governments and some are free chargers while others charge a nominal rate. Level 3 chargers normally charge rates that are much higher due to the high installation costs. Both PlugShare and ChargeHub websites provide information about charging costs for each location listed on their websites.

The experience of most EV owners who drive 20000 km per year is that energy costs are about $300 with a mix of 70% of the km charging at home and 30% charging with a network,

Yes- the Canadian Federal Government offers up to $5,000 on the purchase of a new electric vehicle. The rebate amount depends on type, BEV or PHEV, the battery size, suggested retail price and eligibility under the iZEV program.
List of eligible vehicles under the iZEV Program

There is also a $1,000 used vehicle rebate program available through Plug N’ Drive, a not-for-profit organization that has a Discovery Centre located in North York, Ontario.

There is also a $1,000 program if you scrap your old gas guzzler towards buying an electric vehicle. This incentive can be combined with the $1,000 from the purchase a used electric vehicle program for a combined total of $2,000.

Well, the first thing you need to know is that the idea of having to go to a dealer is a changing one. Tesla has never had dealers- they have showrooms and you can test drive the car; but you buy on line. Volvo has just announced that they are moving to this model and so is Cadillac. Some manufacturers still will sell through dealers but that will change over time.

However, whether you to go the showroom and buy on-line or to a traditional dealer, the first thing you need to do is evaluate your transportation needs. There are many options on the market and every vehicle has its pros and cons and price point. Someone who needs a vehicle for commuting the same distance everyday along a predictable route will need a vehicle with different capabilities than the person who travels long distances for a living. Are you looking for a new or a used vehicle? Used electric vehicles are becoming more available as newer models with improved ranges encourage existing owners to trade up.

Normally, anyone wanting to test drive a vehicle would go to a local dealer or showroom to arrange a test. This is still true, but currently, except for Tesla, inventories of electric vehicles on dealer lots tend to be limited. Alternatively, a test drive of selected makes and models can be arranged through Plug ‘N Drive , a not-for-profit organization that has a Discovery Centre located in North York, Ontario. In addition there are many non-profit Electric Vehicle Groups that participate in car shows and demonstration event where members of the public can talk to and drive EVs. Most have their own websites and publish their own event schedules. Sustainable Orillia has conducted one EV demonstration and is planning it as an annual event.

While we cannot recommend one source over another there are plenty of on-line platforms you can check on your own with a Google search. There are more than we can list here so this is just a few:

If you are looking for reviews on new and used EVs, try AutoTrader or Kijiji Autos https://www.autotrader.ca/editorial/search/?searchValue=Electric


If you are looking for video reviews, try the EV Revolution Show.

If you have been bitten by the electric vehicle bug and you want to dig really deep-

Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine

Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International

EV’s can last a long time, easily matching the life span of traditional vehicles on the road today due to low maintenance issues and modern manufacturing that reduces rust and corrosion. All vehicle types, including EVs, are efficiently re-cycled for metals at the end of their life. EV’s only differ from other vehicles because of the batteries and EV batteries are lasting the entire life of the vehicles so disposal only becomes an issue when the vehicle has to be scrapped. These batteries can be recycled and companies specializing in this type of recycling have now emerged in response to the demands of the EV market, which industry estimates will require recycling of over two million lithium-ion batteries by 2040 in the United States alone.

Checking these sites may be worthwhile if you are considering recycling your used EV battery:

Li-Cycle – Founded in Toronto in 2016, Li-Cycle is a Mississauga lithium-ion battery resource recovery company and advertises that their recovery system addresses the need for a truly sustainable, ESG-friendly lithium-ion battery recycling solution and claim that they can recover ≥95% of all constituent materials found in lithium-ion batteries.       https://li-cycle.com/

Lithion Recycling – Based in Quebec, Lithion Recycling has developed an efficient and cost-effective process to recover strategic materials from end-of life and production waste of lithium-ion batteries. Lithion’s process allows up to 95% of battery components to be recovered and treated so that they can be reused by battery manufacturers, enabling the close of the lifecycle in batteries.    https://www.lithionrecycling.com/

American Manganese Inc. – Based in Surrey BC. They claim their RecycLiCo™ Patented Process offers a closed-loop and environmentally friendly recycling solution for cathode materials from cathode manufacturing waste and end-of-life lithium-ion batteries and achieves over 99% extraction and purity of materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and aluminum from cathode chemistries.        https://americanmanganeseinc.com/

Retriev Technologies – Based in Trail, BC. With the increase in use of non-cobalt based constituents, Retriev recycles such constituents such as Iron Phosphate, Manganese Spinel, and Nickel Manganese. Regardless of the chemistry they claim to be able to recycle batteries through a single recycling process.

Global Tech Environmental – Operating globally Global Tech Environmental offers recycling of NiMH Hybrid batteries and EV Li-ion batteries with shipping and handling information.

There are many such organizations in Canada, the US and worldwide. As electric vehicles become more commonplace these groups have organized to support and advocate for the electric vehicle industry. Typically each group has its own website and social media outlets and tends to be very active in their outreach programs and many offer membership benefits for joining. Although Sustainable Orillia does not recommend one organization over another we provide this contact information for your own assessment. Some of the larger groups include:

Electric Vehicle Society – visit their website to find a local chapter near you or an affiliate EV group listed by province across Canada.

Electric Mobility Canada

Tesla Owners Club of Ontario

Tesla Motors Club (not affiliated with Tesla Motors, Inc.)

As of March 2021 there are 12,000 Public Level 2 and DC Fast Charging Ports across Canada and the number of charging stations available for public charging is increasing daily. Major companies and utilities including PetroCanada, Shell (greenlots), Canadian Tire, Volkswagen, Flo, Electrify Canada, Tesla, and others are building partnerships to install charging networks across Ontario and Canada. Visit these sites for further information and the charger locations in their networks. It is now possible to drive and charge coast to coast across Canada.

Your Links to the Charging Station Networks

The Ivy Network is owned equally by Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One Ltd.

This network is available
coast to coast.

Note that this network is
exclusive to Tesla vehicle owners.

90 of its retail locations will
host electric vehicle (EV)
fast charging stations by
the end of 2020.

Volkswagen’s Electrify Canada

Still have questions?

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We gratefully acknowledge the generous financial contribution made by the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC).

And the generous financial support of the CIBC


And the continuing support for Sustainable Orillia by the City of Orillia