Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about electric vehicles, with information about their range, charging, reliability, costs and savings, winter performance, environmental impacts and about the different types of plug-in vehicles.
In the vast majority of cases, yes.
The important thing is to choose a model that suits your lifestyle. The supply of plug-in vehicles is becoming increasingly diversified:
No, not any more than you would be with a gasoline vehicle.
Just as a gasoline vehicle gives you a warning when the fuel is running low, an electric vehicle will warn you when it will soon be time to charge.
Learn more about charging.
It depends on the type of vehicle, battery capacity and weather conditions.
Find out more about the range of plug-in vehicles.
You have three options to charge your electric vehicle
Learn more about charging stations.
It only takes a few seconds to plug in a vehicle. While it is charging, you can do other activities.
The duration of a charging session varies depending on the state of charge (at the beginning and end of the session), battery capacity, type of charging station, vehicle equipment and sometimes weather. On a DC charging station, charging to 80% can take from 20 minutes to 1 hour and a half. On a 240V station (residential or public), charging to 100% can take from 1 hour to over 8 hours. Finally, on a portable 120V charging station (plugged into a standard outlet), charging to 100% can take from a few hours to several days.
Learn more about charging time.
Unlike a lead-acid battery that can expire after a few years or less, the lithium-ion battery has a 10-year life expectancy for this purpose. Thus, after reaching the vehicle’s end of life, the battery is very likely to still be operational. A plug-in vehicle’s electric and hybrid components are covered by a warranty ranging from 8 to 10 years, or 100,000 to 200,000 kilometres.
The reliability of plug-in vehicles is comparable or superior to that of thermal vehicles. Common components such as brakes, suspension and steering are comparably reliable. Some parts, such as the fuel system or muffler, are absent (EV) or less stressed (PHEV). Components specific to plug-in vehicles such as the battery and electric motor are of superior reliability, which is reflected in the long-term warranty offered by manufacturers.
Most charging sessions take place at home at the current utility rate. Calculate approximately $0.10/kWh including taxes. The cost for fully charging your vehicle will depend on the battery capacity and the state of charge at the beginning of the session. On average, about $2 worth of electricity at home allows you to drive for 100 km.
For 240V public charging stations, you will see two rates: $1 to $2 per hour of charging, or $2.50 per session. In Québec, the rate at fast charging stations is usually of $10/h (billed per minute). For most drivers, the use of public charging stations is an occasional occurrence.
Yes. However, the cost will still be only a fraction of the cost of gas! The number of kWh consumed every day will depend mainly on your daily mileage and the vehicle’s energy consumption. Here is an example: 50 kilometres per day at an average of 20 kWh/100 km= 10 kWh/day. At $0.10/ kWh, this amounts to $1 per day or $30 per month (for a monthly mileage of 1,500 km).
All plug-in vehicles come with a portable charging station that works with a 120V household outlet, therefore no installation is needed if you already have a socket within reach. Models with a battery approaching 20 kWh could take more than 12 hours to charge at 120V. For faster charging, some EV drivers thus opt for a 240V charging station. Such a station must be installed by a master electrician. The price of North American charging stations varies from about $700 to $1,300, depending on models and options. The installation, which is a relatively simple operation comparable to the installation of a stove outlet, costs on average $500.
It is highly unlikely that you will have to replace the battery, and for now it is very difficult to figure out the cost of the operation since there is no known case of a replacement not covered by warranty. That said, the cost of manufacturing batteries dropped by more than 70% between 2011 and 2017 and continues to decline as production volumes increase. The cost for a replacement battery (24 kWh) of a first-generation Nissan LEAF (2011-2014) was listed at $5,500 in 2017, while the battery of a Chevrolet Bolt EV (60kWh) would cost about $16,000. However, all Chevrolet Bolt EVs sold to date are still covered by the manufacturer's warranty .
Like any electrical appliance – you do not start an electric vehicle, you turn it on! And it works very well, even in cold weather. However, the cold affects the energy efficiency of all vehicles: whether it is gasoline or electric, a car consumes more in winter. This is due in part to the higher density of cold air, which provides greater resistance. In the case of plug-in vehicles, heating the passenger compartment also draws on the reserve.
Electric range can vary by 10% to 40% depending on weather conditions. It is therefore essential to take this into consideration when choosing a vehicle. The indicated range for each model is actually an annual average: during spring, summer and autumn, an EV will often yield a higher mileage, while in winter its range will be lower.
Learn more about seasonal range.
Yes. Especially in Quebec. Over its entire life cycle, taking into account manufacturing and end of life, an electric vehicle that runs on hydroelectricity emits 65% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than a gasoline vehicle over 150 000 km. At 300 000 km, the reduction goes up to 80%!
At the time of manufacture, a plug-in vehicle has a greater impact. However, the reduction in use-related pollutant emissions allows for a better environmental performance for electric vehicles compared to gasoline vehicles in relation to the following four criteria: human health, ecosystem quality, climate change and fossil resources depletion.
Once its useful life inside the vehicle is over, the battery can still be used for seven to ten years to store energy, for example for peak hours management or for wind and solar systems. Afterwards, it will still be possible to recover and recycle over 95% of its materials.
A fully electric vehicle never consumes gasoline. A plug-in hybrid runs on electricity for a certain distance and then consumes gas until the next recharge opportunity. Both can be charged with an electric charging station.
Find out more about the types of plug-in vehicles.
No. Hybrid vehicles consume gasoline then convert some of the energy into electricity. These are gasoline vehicles because they rely entirely on fossil fuel to operate, even though they may be more efficient. On the other hand, plug-in hybrid vehicles are recharged each day with a charging station and then travel a certain distance without gasoline, thanks to the energy stored in the battery during charging. These models are considered electric vehicles.