If you’re looking to make more eco-friendly choices, electric and hybrid cars have become an increasingly popular, greener alternative to gas-powered cars.
Aside from leaving a smaller carbon footprint, these eco-friendly cars are also fuel-efficient – which can help you save costs long-term.
It can be hard to decide which one is best for you given all the options available; including make, model, and fuel source. To help you decide which electric car type is right for you, we cover the considerations, benefits, and drawbacks. Let’s understand the difference between each of these car types.
Hybrid: are cars with batteries that are powered by both electric motor and a gasoline engine. The two types – Parallel or Series – differ in how a hybrid accelerates, sounds, and feel. The most common design is a Parallel Hybrid where the transmission blends the electric and gasoline power sources. Alternatively, a Series Hybrid only uses a gasoline engine to recharge the battery. Typically, a Series Hybrid is more indicative of an electric car with less vibration, smoother, and powerful acceleration.
Plug-in Hybrid: are hybrid cars that can be plugged in. Like a regular hybrid, a plug-in uses both gas and electricity, only you can drive on electricity alone for a limited range when the car is charged. Many plug-in hybrids have an electric range between 30-70 kms and can be charged in a few hours. If you deplete the all-electric range, the car reverts to either a conventional series or parallel hybrid based on the make and model.
Electric: are cars that are fully electric and therefore don’t use any gas. As the car is powered by electricity, the driving range is anywhere between 100-500km depending on the make and model. Charging times vary between 1 hour to 40 hours.
Things to Consider
Now, that we’ve covered the types, let’s look at the common considerations to factor in.
Cost of fuel
Hybrids help you save fuel, consuming up to 50% less than with gas-powered equivalents. While electric cars will use not gas.
The main drawback of electric cars is their overall driving range when compared to that of a hybrid or traditional gas. Electric cars rely on the need for accessible charging stations. If your daily commute is short, or you plan on using your car mostly for quick trips, electric or hybrid are both ideal. But, if you tend to drive longer distances, in less populated areas, electric or hybrids might become less convenient than gas cars.
As machines, all car types will require maintenance or repairs, regardless if it’s gas, hybrid, or electric powered.
Hybrids require the same gas station fill-ups and maintenance routines as gas-only cars.
Electric cars avoid the costs that come along with combustion engines but are still at risk of battery degradation. Replacing any battery can still be a significant amount of money, which is why some owners choose to buy protection products.
Across the board, batteries outlast combustion engines and require less maintenance however it will depend on your make and model.
Rebates and Incentives
Canadians who purchase electric cars or plug-in hybrids are eligible for a government incentive of $2,500 to $5,000. Regular hybrids are not included. In addition, this incentive program, only applies to cars that cost less than $45,000, with some $55,000 cars considered eligible.
Some provinces, such as British Columbia and Québec, also include additional incentives. For BC, check out CEV for BC, here. For Québec specific rebates, check out Transition Québec, here.
Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on various factors including your budget, driving habits, accessibility to an electricity source, expected ownership period, and other. Going electric in general can cost you less in the long-term while also being much friendlier to our planet.