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EV Charging 4

Electric Vehicles: Frequently Asked Questions

Is having an EV affordable? They seem expensive.
What maintenance is required on an EV?
What rebates for EVs are available?
Do EVs look the same as normal cars? Do I have to get a Tesla?
What are the different types of EVs?
Are there EV trucks or EVs with 4x4?
Can I get a second-hand EV?
Do all EVs drive themselves?
How will my life be different than using a gas vehicle?
What can I do while I’m waiting for my EV to charge?
What happens if I ever run out of power?
What are the benefits of an electric vehicle?
What are the issues of electric vehicles?
Is getting an EV inevitable?
How are EV batteries recycled/disposed of?

Is having an EV affordable? They seem expensive.

An electric vehicle (EV) is cheaper in the long run compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles (gas/diesel). An EV often initially costs more to purchase (as much as 40% higher although you can access rebates) but savings are made in running them (electricity is cheaper than other fuels) and maintenance (EV components are simpler than ICE vehicles – see the next FAQ for more details).

EV Charging 5

Source: Read this article for a more in-depth analysis.

Check out BC Hydro's calculator to work out how much you will save on fuel.

Evelyn bought an EV for $45,000 while Meg bought a gasoline-powered car for $30,000. As time passes, the costs compared for the two cars sees the EV come out on top.

What maintenance is required on an EV?

An EV driver saves on average approximately $2,000 per year in fuel and maintenance.

Electric vehicles require a fraction of the maintenance when compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. ICE vehicles have 2000 plus parts whereas EVs have about 200. There are no timing belts, exhaust systems, O2 sensors, spark plugs, engine air filters, oil changes, or even a transmission! The brakes on an electric vehicle rarely, if ever, need replacing due to less wear using regenerative braking.

Tires and wiper blades are the regular maintenance items on EVs.

The highest-cost potential replacement item on an EV is the battery pack. Most EVs come with a five to eight year, or 160,000 km powertrain, warranty. The cost of a new battery varies by model and manufacturer, but replacing a battery will typically run into the thousands of dollars. If you need battery work, individual cells can often be replaced for significantly less than the cost of the entire pack. Plus, the prices of batteries, which makes up to about a third of the vehicle cost, are dropping every year.

What rebates for EVs are available?

Rebates and other perks have a big impact on accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles in B.C. They are provided by the federal government, provincial government, and sometimes through private industry. You can save a few thousand dollars when purchasing an electric vehicle in B.C. and there are even rebates for a Level 2 at home charging stations.

In addition to these incentives, you may be eligible for SCRAP-IT, a B.C. program that offers incentives to scrap high-polluting vehicles when you buy a new or used EV – or other type of low-carbon transportation. Visit for details.

Check in here to see the list of what rebates are currently available to you.

Do EVs look the same as normal cars? Do I have to get a Tesla?

A Tesla is possibly the most well known EV or perhaps the Prius, which was the first mass-marketed hybrid. But today there is a huge variety of EVs available from many car manufacturers, suitable for a variety of budgets. They look like the everyday sedan or SUV. While EVs currently account for fewer than 3% of all vehicles driven around the world, they are growing in numbers.

Search the variety of EV Models in B.C. and view this brochure to see what's on the market currently.

What are the different types of EVs?

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) 

Also known as fully electric, these EVs run on a rechargeable battery and recharge by plugging into a wall outlet or charging station. They also recharge their batteries when you drive downhill or stop through regenerative braking (read more about that further down.)

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

Plug-in hybrids are similar to full electric vehicles but have a lower range on electric and switch to a gas engine when the battery is low. People often get a PHEV to do their daily commute on electric (about 47km) but have the gas option for longer trips. Plug-in hybrids also have regenerative braking. Read Summerland resident Natalie's story on her experience with a PHEV.

Hybrid vehicles (HEVs)

Not to be confused with the previous plug-in hybrid vehicles, straight hybrids cannot be recharged. These were made popular by the second generation Toyota Prius in the early 2000s. Their gas and electric drive systems run simultaneously and although they often have a small battery, they are not considered a true electric vehicle. They also have regenerative braking.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) / Hydrogen EVs

This is new technology and while fuel cell vehicles are expected to grow in popularity, as of 2021, there are only three models available — the Hyundai Nexo, Honda Clarity, and the Toyota Mirai.

They are refuelled at public hydrogen stations, similar to pumping gas. Their batteries charge by converting hydrogen to electricity. They only takes a few minutes to refuel, have a range of about 600 km, and are zero-emissions, emitting only water from the exhaust.

There are a limited number of public hydrogen refuelling stations in B.C. currently, with more under construction. There are four stations in B.C. (Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver and Victoria) and additional stations including Kelowna are planned. In September 2020, the Government of B.C. announced $10 million towards construction and operation of 10 stations and Hydrogen B.C.

Are there EV trucks or EVs with 4x4?

There are no trucks yet, but they're coming! GMC's hummer is expected in late 2021 and Ford is creating an electric F-150, plus others are expected shortly also.

You can take your EV on a dirt road, and as there are fewer components, there is less to worry about breaking. Many EVs do come with 4x4 capability and enough power for towing. See more here.

Can I get a second-hand EV?

Yes. Summerland resident Grant bought a second-hand 2013 Nissan Leaf. You don’t need the latest high-kilowatt battery to go electric. Older electric cars or new commuter vehicles with smaller ranges will cover most daily drives just fine.

Visit this webpage for more information on the pros and cons of used EVs, as well as where they can be purchased.

Do all EVs drive themselves?

Tesla is well known for being an electric vehicle with some self-driving capabilities, but the everyday EV works like a normal car with full driver attention required.

How will my life be different than using a gas/diesel vehicle?

You will spend less money on gas and maintenance, and your travels will be low-carbon.

Electric vehicles are ideal for commuting. Most Canadians drive 50 kilometres or less per day, well within the range of every fully electric car on the market. Most EV owners charge their cars at home overnight and report very little difference in their day-to-day activities compared to when they had a gasoline-operated vehicle.

They are similar in the experience of driving (although quieter!) and needing to stop to refuel after long periods of driving. When travelling long distances, you do have to consider your car's range and where to stop to recharge as charging stations are not yet as common as gas/diesel, although this is rapidly changing. See more about range further below.

Electric motors are notorious for their high torque and instant power delivery. You’ll be surprised by how much kick the electric motor has.

What can I do while I’m waiting for my EV to charge?

Depending on what type of charger you’re using, what type of vehicle you have, and how much power you want to recharge, you may need to wait anywhere from 20 minutes to 2+ hours for your vehicle to finish charging.

Summerland’s EV chargers are conveniently located throughout the community so that EV drivers can go shopping, grab a bite to eat, or walk along the Okanagan Lake while their vehicle charges.

Check out this video for even more ideas of how to keep busy in Summerland while you charge:

What happens if I ever run out of power?

Electric vehicles can charge from any electrical outlet so the likelihood of completely running out of power is slim. The ever-expanding charging network of public chargers on highways and in communities mean there is usually always an option to charge, and apps such as A Better Route Planner calculate the best places for you to charge based on your vehicle type and your destination.

If you do run out of electricity and aren’t able to recharge, contact your breakdown provider and ask for a flatbed truck to take you to a nearby charging station. Electric vehicles shouldn't be towed with a rope or lift, as this can damage the traction motors that generate electricity through regenerative braking.

What are the benefits of an electric vehicle?

As outlined above, EVs are cheaper in the long run compared to a gasoline or diesel vehicle. And with rebates currently available as well as used options, getting into an EV is easier than ever.

Winter Driving
Electric motors don’t struggle to turn over in the winter. They start in all conditions and some models allow you to pre-start your car so the cabin is warm by the time you get in it.

Regenerative braking
When you ease up on the gas pedal, the electric motor provides resistance, which slows the car down and generates power at the same time. This is your car making electricity! This energy is stored back into the battery to be used for future driving. For example, driving down the Coquihalla back to Peachland will give your electric battery about an extra 18km.

If it takes a little to get used to, most EVs have a “regen” setting that you can adjust to be more comfortable. Another benefit to this is that brakes on EVs barely wear down and rarely need to be replaced on the vehicle.

Climate friendly 
Transportation is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. While building an EV is energy intensive, over their lifetime, EVs produce far less greenhouse gas emissions than gas cars.

Depending on the source of the electricity, this offset of carbon emissions can take longer in areas that use coal to generate the majority of their electricity. Most electricity in B.C. is generated from a clean and renewable source including hydroelectric (water) generation; however, this video shows that electric vehicles are so efficient that they produce fewer lifecycle emissions than gas vehicles, regardless of how the electricity is generated.

What are the issues of electric vehicles?

Dealing with range, range anxiety and weather conditions
Just as a gas/diesel vehicle have limits on how far they can go before needing to refuel, so do EVs. Some drivers can get nervous about this (known as “range anxiety”) as EV charging stations are not yet as common as gas/diesel stations (although this is quickly changing). Weather conditions can also affect the available range, as heating and cooling use up electricity.

EVs have a range-estimator gauge, which updates constantly as you drive. MPGe is the abbreviation for miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) estimated range for a 2013 Nissan Leaf, like the one Summerland resident Grant Evans drives, is 135 kilometres. In ideal conditions this can be achieved but in winter, range is reduced to 90 or 100 kilometres due to demands on heating the car cabin and cooler temperatures for the battery pack.

Unlike gas-powered vehicles, whose highway efficiency almost always exceeds the city figure, most EVs have higher city range ratings than highway. An EV's consumption increases dramatically as speeds rise. EVs have one gear so a higher speed means the electric motor is spinning at a faster and less-efficient point.

Summerland resident David Jonnson says range anxiety is associated with travelling long distances in an EV if you know your range won’t get you all the way to your destination. "However, you do get used to it, particularly if you travel the same routes time and time again and know what to expect and you know where you’ll get reliable charging stations," he says. "We do drive more conservatively, speed-wise, than we used to so that we can conserve battery. That’s not a bad thing."

"On a long trip, I use the PlugShare app on my phone to see what chargers are available and working. It is crucial to know this before you go so that you can plan accordingly. People who have the app update the condition and availability of public chargers all the time. Extremely helpful!" EV Story - David on EV driving over long distances.

As EV infrastructure continues to grow and EV technology evolves, range anxiety will become a thing of the past.

Battery Degradation 
Over time, just like the battery in your cell phone, the ability to hold a charge slightly decreases. As the battery degrades, your range will decrease.

Using a cell phone app such as LeafSpy, the health of the battery can been observed. Summerland resident Grant notes that when he purchased his 2013 Nissan Leaf in 2017, the health of the battery was at 96%, which was high for a four-year-old Leaf. His most recent check in November 2020 (three years later), put the health of the battery at 85%.

Dealership knowledge and EV availability 
EVs are still new technology and many dealerships are still learning about them. There are also long waitlists for people wanting to buy an EV from many manufacturers.

Is getting an EV inevitable?

The International Energy Agency has forecast more than 130 million electric vehicles on roadways worldwide by 2030, meaning EVs are likely to take over the market. It is also predicted that by 2022 the EV version will cheaper to buy than its internal combustion engine counterpart.

General Motors has announced that it will no longer produce gas and diesel powered light duty vehicles by 2035. Ford and other vehicle manufacturers are also beginning to make similar announcements.

BC’s Zero Emissions-Vehicle Act requires more new vehicles to be zero-emission, which means that the number of certified electric vehicle dealerships is growing and manufacturers are designing models for all different types of lifestyles, including trucks and SUVs. The ZEV Act, passed in 2019, requires automakers to meet increasing annual levels of EV sales reaching 10% of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2025, 30% by 2030, and 100% by 2040.

British Columbia has seen a record-setting uptake of electric vehicles on the road, boasting more than 54,000 light-duty registered across the province as of the end of 2020.

More new technology such as wireless charging will play a significant part in making EV ownership appealing to all.

The future is very electric.

How are EV batteries recycled/disposed of?

With the International Energy Agency predicting an 800 percent increase in the number of EVs over the next decade, manufacturers and start-ups are looking ahead to keep EV batteries from the landfill through second-life use and recycling.

EV batteries' end of life is about eight or more years after introduction. Only now vehicles from the first production wave are beginning to reach the end of their lifespan. It's less likely that an EV battery will end up in the wrong place than e-waste from devices like cellphones and laptops that may end up forgotten in a drawer or thrown in the garbage.

Re-use will extend the life of the EV batteries and cells. When an EV battery is no longer suitable for use in an EV, it can still retain up to 80 percent of its charge and can be useful in many applications, giving it an additional lifespan of five to 30 years. Visit this webpage for more information.

Options for lithium-ion recycling are growing. Retriev (formerly Toxco) in Trail, British Columbia has been in the lithium-ion battery recycling business for over 35 years, for example.