Clean Foundation’s Next Ride campaign has been touring Nova Scotia, educating the public about the benefits of owning electric vehicles (EVs) and getting people behind the wheel to test the vehicles out.
People are overwhelmingly enthused by the performance of the vehicles, current EV ranges, and are surprised by the existing expansive provincial public charging network. One challenge to increasing EV ownership stands out: the relatively high sticker price compared to internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs).
To make the vehicles more accessible, the federal government is offering an incentive of up to $5,000 towards the purchase or lease of a new EV with thebase MSRP under $45,000. This means that popular EV models, including theTesla Model 3 ($44,999), Nissan Leaf ($42,298), and the Hyundai Ioniq ($37,899) all qualify for this discount. Taking the incentive into account, their price is comparable to the average new vehicle price that Nova Scotians are paying in 2019 ($38,345).
In order to fully understand the savings potential of an EV, the total cost of ownership of the vehicle must be considered. EV owners save when it comes to charging their vehicles, as well as in maintenance costs. For instance, our fleet EV, the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt, has a range of 383km and costs approximately $9.36 to charge to 100%. Comparably, a gas-powered vehicle with the same range and the average Canadian fuel efficiency would cost $38.86 to fill with gasoline at $1.14/L. This represents savings of over $1,200per year for the average Nova Scotian. Depending on the vehicle you are comparing it to, it’s like paying $0.30/L at the pump. Electricity rates have the added benefit of being more stable and less susceptible to fluctuations compared to gasoline.
EVs have thousands fewer moving parts in their drivetrains compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. They have no engine, do not require oil changes, and their brakes do not experience as much wear and tear due to regenerative braking. It is estimated that the cost of maintenance is 50% lower in an EV, though it could be more. With an average maintenance cost of $100/month for an ICEV, this represents savings of $600/year for an EV owner. Combining the numbers, owning an EV in Nova Scotia has the potential to save $1,800/year on fuel and upkeep. For those that pay less than the average Nova Scotian for a new vehicle, the price gap is closed within a few years.
With more models, including SUVs and trucks, coming to market over the next two years and EV battery technology rapidly developing, EVs are gaining wider consumer appeal. As these vehicles approach cost parity, theircheaper operating costs will only become more appealing. However, regardless of any potential yearly savings, buying a new vehicle is not within reach for many Canadians. The good news is that as more EVs enter the market, the chance of finding them used and therefore more affordable is becoming an accessible option.