1. How much will it cost to charge my EVs?
You need to know your electricity rate to answer this question. Only one rate is assigned per delivery point. If your charging stations are connected to an existing building, they will be subject to the same rate as the building. In the case of fast charging stations or the installation of many stations, it is possible to consider a new service entrance, with its own rate.
A rate of 10￠/kWh can be used to make quick estimates. As a reference, a light commercial vehicle consumes about 15-25 kWh/100 km. Thus, it can be estimated that it typically costs between $1.50 and $2.50 to travel 100 km in a light electric vehicle.
However, do note that business rates include a billing demand. It is based on the maximum power demand during the billing period. The price varies greatly depending on the rate. In some cases, the power may be free of charge below a certain threshold (e.g., Rate G), but may be set above 16￠/kW in other cases (e.g., Rate M). This component is billed on a period-by-period basis (usually on a monthly basis).
2. How long will it take to charge?
The charging time depends on the charging power and the amount of energy to be exchanged. The amount of energy (in kWh) can be divided by the power (in kW) to obtain the duration (in hours). For example, a charging session to recover 50% of the range of a vehicle with a battery capacity of 84 kWh requires 42 kWh. If the vehicle is charging at a 7-kW level 2 charging station, it will take 6 hours to charge. The same charging session would have taken less than an hour on a 50-kW fast charging station.
For more details, see the Charging solutions for electric vehicle fleets guide (French only).
3. How many charging stations will I need?
Generally, for the deployment of Level 2 charging stations, one station per vehicle is the recommended strategy. This way, each vehicle can benefit from overnight charging and preheating in the morning to maximize range.
For larger electrification projects, involving many vehicles, fast charging stations or 24/7 operations, a different "station/vehicle" ratio can be selected to minimize the maximum power demand while meeting energy needs.
4. Do I have enough space and capacity in my distribution panel to add stations?
Only a qualified master electrician can answer this question. This person will help you with the power demand and total of stations needed. Do know that a typical Level 2 charging station requires a 40 A breaker. For five charging stations, the typical method is to install five 40 A breakers. However, many products allow for power sharing, making it easier to deploy larger fleets of charging stations.
5. Are EVs really a cleaner solution?
Electric cars have a higher manufacturing environmental footprint than gasoline-powered cars, but their overall ecological impact is lower. In fact, EVs emit few pollutants during their use, which largely offsets their initial impact. In Québec, an electric vehicle becomes more environmentally friendly than a gasoline vehicle after 29,000 to 85,000 km of use, making it a more environmentally friendly option in the long run.
To learn more, visit the Environment section of our website.
6. What will be the range of the vehicles in winter?
In Québec, data from various pilot projects conducted by the Innovative Vehicle Institute show that commercial vehicles consume about twice as much in winter as in summer. A loss of range of 50% during the coldest days of the winter is possible. However, this scenario only occurs a few days a year, typically in January.
7. What if some days require more mileage than the vehicle can handle?
It is quite possible to cover more distance in one day than what can be covered on a single charge. The network of public fast charging stations covers the entire territory of Québec very well. If operations do not allow for a charging stop, but a return to the depot is planned, it may be possible to consider a change of vehicle during the day for another electric vehicle that is already sufficiently charged. Finally, since the transition to electric vehicles is done gradually by most fleets, it will probably be possible for a few more years to end the day in a gasoline-powered vehicle on atypical days.
8. Does Québec have enough energy to support the electric transition of the vehicle fleet?
Yes, because Hydro-Québec currently has a surplus of energy. The public corporation could power 1 million EVs in Québec right now without making major investments in the grid. Power can be more of an issue, as virtually all vehicles plug-in at peak hour, i.e., dinner time. However, EVs can easily be programmed to avoid peak charging. It is relatively easy to push charging later in the night in exchange for financial incentives. This is what Hilo, a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, offers.
9. What if my employees need to charge the vehicle at home?
In order to pay for home charging, a new internal policy must be put in place. Several technological options are available, such as installing smart charging stations at home or using telematics in each vehicle. The simplest method, however, remains a simple mileage-based reimbursement, without measuring the energy consumed at home. The amounts involved are comparable to those associated with a cell phone bill. It may not be worthwhile to implement a complex management solution.
10. Will I have to replace batteries at some point?
Degradation of lithium-ion batteries is a very real phenomenon. With current technologies, degradation is expected to be about 8-10%/100,000 km. The current industry standard is to guarantee the battery against abnormal degradation up to 160,000 km or 8 years. For most manufacturers, degradation is considered "abnormal" when it exceeds a threshold of between 20% and 30% loss of capacity compared to the original state.
Even if a battery is severely degraded, the vehicle can still be used. It can be assigned to shorter trips, have additional charging sessions, or be sold to a fleet where range is not an issue. Also, "replacing a battery" does not necessarily mean replacing the entire battery. For many vehicles, it is possible to replace only certain cells or modules.
11. Which vehicles should I start transitioning with?
Each situation is unique but there are elements common to many electrification plans. First, it is easier to replace vehicles that travel less than 350 km per day for most days of the year. Vehicles that return to a fixed location every night (such as a vehicle depot or home charging station) should also be considered. Finally, vehicles that do not have special equipment or accessories (e.g., lifts, shovels, etc.) are typically easier to electrify.
The decision support tool for fleet electrification (French only), developed by IVÉO, can be interesting to simulate and compare different purchase scenarios.
12. What happens if an EV breaks down on the road?
Unfortunately, breakdowns are not unlikely, just as they are for gasoline-powered vehicles; an EV provides the same kind of warning to the driver as a combustion engine vehicle. The driver can prevent a breakdown in an EV in the same way as in a conventional vehicle. There are now companies (including CAA) that offer emergency charging, but towing to a charging station is still the most common solution.