Should You Buy An Electric Car?

From, “what’s my budget” to “what safety features do I need,” you’ll be asking yourself a lot of questions when buying a new car.  With the increased availability of electric vehicles, you might even be asking yourself if it’s time to give up gas-powered cars altogether.

It’s clear that electric cars are becoming more popular, as sales of these environmentally-friendly vehicles reached an all-time high last year with over 735,000 purchased worldwide. But even with that growth in sales, a recent survey of 1000 Canadians revealed that only 5 percent of respondents were interested in buying an electric car next time they were in the market for a new vehicle.

If you’re asking the question, “should I buy an electric car,” you’ll first need to understand the available options. A fully electric vehicle relies exclusively on an electric motor, meaning you’ll need home and public charging stations to keep your car running. It could mean a big lifestyle change, but you’d have the benefit of driving gas-free.

For drivers concerned about making such a big change to their habits, there are other green options available. A traditional hybrid car has both a gas engine and an electric motor. The electric motor powers the car at low speeds or short distances to help reduce the strain on the engine. These vehicles do not need charging stations; rather, the electric motor relies on the engine and charges itself when the car is coasting or braking. For drivers worried about the availability of charging stations, this could be a good option. Finally, a plug-in electric vehicle is similar to a traditional hybrid, but includes the options of charging the battery at a station.

In another Canadian survey, half of respondents felt that electric vehicles were too expensive. If that’s a concern, do some research on rebates and incentives in your province, such as Ontario’s Electric Vehicle Incentive Program. The price of your car and a home charging station could be a few thousand dollars lower once you’ve factored the money you’ll be getting back from the government. Also consider how much you’ll be saving on gas. For example, in British Columbia, where the price of electricity is one of the lowest in North America, electric car owners can save up to $1,400 annually on fuel.

A global report on the total cost of car ownership in the United Kingdom, United States and Japan – found that in each of these countries, it was cheaper to own a fully electric car than a gas-powered vehicle. While government subsidies accounted for some of the cost difference, total fuel and maintenance costs were also lower for electric vehicles. Finally, when you’re pricing out the total cost of car ownership, don’t forget to consider whether or not you can find savings in other areas, such as shopping around for a cheaper rate on your car insurance.  

Hopefully we’ve given you some answers to some of your biggest questions about whether your next vehicle should be electric or gas.There is plenty of information available to help you overcome your hesitations and embrace a greener – and potentially cheaper – ride.