Is an electric vehicle a good fit for you?
Factor in your lifestyle and needs
There are many benefits to driving an electric car, but auto purchases are always a personal choice. The "fit" of an electric car depends on everything from affordability, to the size of available models, to the day-to-day practicality of owning and operating an electric vehicle.
5 questions to ask yourself before buying
You may have long ago decided to buy an electric car because you feel it's one big way you can help fight climate change.
You may have your eye on a second vehicle, specifically for short journeys and commutes to work. Is a cheaper, fuel-efficient gas-powered vehicle, or a car share membership, a better option?
Or it could be that you have the money to buy a Tesla S, your chance to buy that superfast dream car while acting sustainably.
Your decision will ultimately come down to the pros and cons of ownership, and in some cases, what you're willing to sacrifice to get what you really want.
There weren't many electric car options a few years ago, and while the landscape is changing fast – see our list of the most popular vehicles available in B.C. – there are still many more options in gas-powered vehicles out there.
Experts expect 2017 to be a big year, as two roomy electric vehicles with longer range – the Chevy Bolt and Tesla 3 – are introduced at prices that, when provincial subsidies are factored in, should cost less than $40,000 Cdn. But we're still waiting for the affordable mid-size SUV that's demanded by a huge buyer segment.
For many electric vehicle owners who do the bulk of their charging while they sleep at home or while they're at work, this isn't even a question. But for others, the thought of waiting a couple hours at a public Level 2 charger, or even a half hour at a DC fast charger, might not fit their idea of convenience, especially while on a weekend road trip to the B.C. interior.
If you're willing to chill, grab a coffee or lunch, or perhaps do a little shopping while you wait, the electric car may be ideal.
Home charging is by far the most popular form of electric vehicle charging. Many owners opt for plugging into a standard electric outlet, even if they need to employ an extension cord to make it happen. Others want the much faster Level 2 charge, and spend the $800 to $2,000 to install a Level 2 charger at home.
But while some strata councils have jumped at the chance to provide charging options for apartment/condo owners, many are still working on it. If you're a condo owner in that situation, check out Metro Vancouver's evcondo.ca for ideas and advice.
There's no doubt that in B.C. the combination of a significant reduction in fuel costs and much lower maintenance costs, adds up to year-to-year savings. But factoring in purchase cost – generally much higher than equivalent gas-powered vehicles – makes overall ownership cost savings of going electric debatable.
And while auto manufacturers say costs of replacement battery packs will decrease dramatically – right now you're typically looking at upwards of $7,500 – that's another consideration. Many EVs come with a battery pack capacity loss warranty of 5 to 8 years, but consider all costs when doing the math on your investment.