Electric vehicles have been growing in popularity. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, the global stock of EVs increased by 63%. When they come up in conversation, you may have heard names such as Tesla and Chevrolet Bolt and wondered if it was time you committed to an EV yourself. To help you decide, we’ll discuss some pros and cons associated with them and also address range anxiety (and let you know if it actually exists).
Pros of Electric Vehicles
EVs are cheaper in the long run.
Although they are often more expensive to purchase, over their life-time, EVs are more affordable compared to gas-powered vehicles because they require less maintenance. With fewer moving parts and no need for oil changes, EVs require minimal upkeep. Since electricity is cheaper than gas, using an EV to get around can significantly decrease your fuel costs, as well.
EVs are eligible for tax credits.
To help reduce carbon emissions, the Government of Canada began offering tax incentives for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in 2019. Many EVs qualify for these credits. You can find a full list of all eligible ZEVs here.
EVs are better for the environment.
One main reason for the growing popularity of EVs is that they can help drivers minimize their carbon footprint. Without an exhaust system, EVs do not release any harmful emissions (greenhouse gases) into the air. They’re also much quieter, contributing very little noise pollution. Moreover, EVs rely on renewable energy sources, e.g., water, wind, and solar power, for fuel.
Cons of Electric Vehicles
EVs are not ideal for extreme temperatures.
In extremely hot or cold environments, the efficiency of an EV’s battery can suffer. Since EVs do not have engines, they have to use other devices to heat the cabin, such as a heat pump. When the temperature drops, more strain is put on these devices, which causes the battery to deplete faster.
Consumer Reports tested this concern on two popular EVs; the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model 3. In temperatures below –12°C, each car traveled about 102 kilometers in one day, split into three journeys. Between each trip, the vehicles were left outside to allow cabin temperatures to drop so they would need to reheat before continuing. The results revealed that the Nissan Leaf’s range loss was more than double than anticipated based on the advertised range, while the Tesla Model 3’s loss was just below double.
During cold winters, you may be able to minimize the amount of range lost if you warm up your EV while it is still charging. Alternatively, for hot and/or cold climates, you could purchase a vehicle with a larger battery. However, these added responsibilities can put people off if they live somewhere known for extreme temperatures.
There are limited choices.
Since they are still growing in exposure, there are only so many EV models currently on the market and only a portion of them are available in Canada. There are considerably more options for both performance specifications and visual appearance for gas-powered cars.
EVs take longer to fuel.
Compared to gas-powered vehicles, EVs take considerably longer to reach their fuel capacity. Depending on the voltage of the outlet used and how much mileage you need, it can take 30 minutes to 10 hours to fully charge your EV. Plus, electric charging stations in Ontario aren’t as ubiquitous as gas stations. As a result, owning an EV often requires you to plan ahead. If an EV driver forgets to charge their car, they may be unable to commit to unexpected plans.
If you feel financially comfortable committing to an EV and believe the pros outweigh the cons, then perhaps now is a good time to make the switch. If you are still unsure, there’s no need to rush. The demand for electric vehicles is expected to rise in the near future, so if you aren’t looking for a new car just yet, you can wait and see what other models may be released. Alternatively, EVs have been around long enough now that it’s easy to find used electric vehicles, including used Teslas, Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Bolts, and more.