e-Mobility FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

The best way to understand how far EVs have come is to talk to someone who owns or drives one. If you don't know an EV owner you can speak with - we're here to help you.

Here you’ll find answers to some commonly asked questions about EVs. If you’re unable to find an answer to a specific question please email us.

How does the driving experience of an EV compare to a gas car?

EVs are very smooth to drive. One reason for this is the way EVs are manufactured. EVs tend to have a lower centre of gravity than typical gasoline/diesel vehicles, allowing for a comfortable, smooth drive. EVs also typically match or compete with their gas/diesel powered counterparts when it comes to sizing, interior, exterior, safety features, and accessories. You may also be surprised with how quiet an EV is, which is a testament to the cutting-edge technology designed to make the car smoother and more efficient. Additionally, electric motors offer impressive acceleration from a dead stop. Instant acceleration means you’ll have to watch your speed a bit more carefully than you would with a traditional car. 

If you drive an EV and would like to share your EV driving experience, share your story with us.

EVs are more expensive than gas/diesel powered vehicles, does it make financial sense to buy one?

While EVs currently cost more at point of purchase, over time, they’re more affordable to run than gas/diesel powered vehicles. The following factors make EVs an attractive financial proposition:

  • Low maintenance costs: EVs are cheaper to maintain because they have fewer moving parts and don’t require oil changes. 
  • Purchase incentives: You can make use of federal incentive of between $2,500 and $5,000 when you buy or lease a new EV. Consult Transport Canada for more information on incentives.
  • Green discount on insurance: Some Canadian banks offer “green vehicle discount” on car insurance for electric or hybrid cars.
  • Variety at different price points: There are over 35 different models of EVs and Plug-in Hybrids available in Canada, some as low as $35,000.
Can an EV run out of charge unexpectedly on a long trip?

One of the more enduring myths about EVs is that driving a full battery electric car means a worry-filled trip waiting to unexpectedly run out of energy, with no chance of a recharge to get home again. This is called ‘range-anxiety’. Here’s why you don’t need to worry about range anxiety:

  • Most Canadians drive 60 km or less daily. This is well within the range of every EV available for sale in Canada.
  • Battery technology is improving rapidly. EV batteries are now three to six times the size of those in earlier models. With efficiency improvements, these cars are capable of travelling greater distances on a single charge. For most daily usage, that means the occasional overnight charge is sufficient. Plug-in hybrids offer an easy way to add flexibility and range to longer trips.
  • Public charging infrastructure is growing. There are over 5,000 public charging stations in Canada, 250 of which are Level 3 DC-Quick chargers that will charge an EV battery from empty to 80% in 30 - 45 minutes.
What are the benefits of a Green Vehicle licence plate for my EV?

Your Green Vehicle licence plate is a sign of your commitment to a cleaner Ontario. Vehicles with these plates have ongoing access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes and no-cost access to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes on Ontario’s 400-series highways and the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), even if there is only one person in the car. HOV lanes are otherwise reserved for vehicles carrying two or more people. HOV lanes are otherwise reserved for single-occupant vehicles with a permit or vehicles carrying two or more people.

To check if your EV qualifies for a Green Vehicle licence plate, click here.

How often does one need to change the battery for a BEV?

The vast majority of electric vehicle (EV) batteries from major automakers come with an eight-year/160,000 kilometre warranty. Since these batteries have fewer mechanical components than an internal combustion engine, they are less likely to break down and need replacing. It should be noted that as with many other technologies, EV batteries do degrade over time, which may affect your total driving range over time.

The biggest threat to EV batteries is heat. That’s why manufacturers are doing more to protect them from heat. The latest batteries are generally better insulated and cooled. Read through the warranties carefully when making a purchase.

What happens to the EV batteries once life expectancy is reached?

When an EV battery is no longer suitable for use in an EV, it still retains up to 80 percent of its charge and can be useful in many applications. Estimates of the additional lifespan that re-use applications could give to an EV battery range from five to 30 years.

There are now various examples of second life applications for EV batteries initiated by either vehicle or battery OEMs, sometimes in partnership with utilities, research institutes or universities. These include reuse in EVs as a refurbished unit; reuse of cells or packs in other battery applications - such as drones; residential energy storage or back-up power; energy storage in renewable systems (e.g. wind and power); and, for EV charging.

An Ontario-based company Li-Cycle, based in Mississauga, has developed a two-step process that is able to recover and recycle more than 95% of the materials in an EV battery.

Can electric vehicles handle Canadian winters?

Many Canadians have likely uttered the words: “It’s so cold that my car won’t start - the battery is dead.” If you have experienced a dead battery on a cold day, here is an exciting point in favour of EVs: An EV will almost always start in the winter compared to gas/diesel vehicles which sometimes need a boost in winter.

Well-designed EVs can thrive in cooler climates. However, battery performance is likely to decrease in the winter months as some energy is needed to warm up the EV and heat the cabin and seats. You can make up for this in part by warming up the car while it’s still plugged in, using economy mode settings, and sticking to the speed limit.

Canadians who drive 20 to 100 km a day and have access to a charging station may find that an electric car is the right choice, even in the winter. Another solution is to buy a plug-in hybrid EV or a battery-electric EV with a longer-range battery, which of course, can cost more.

Does Alectra have a special rate for EV charging?

While electric utilities in Ontario are not currently permitted to offer special electricity rates for EV drivers, we recommend charging your EV between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays, and all day on weekends and statutory holidays per Ontario’s time-of-use rates.

I am looking to offer EV charging at my workplace. Can Alectra help?

We have ongoing workplace charging pilot programs and can assist you with your charging needs. We encourage you email us for more information.

I want my condo to install EV chargers. Can Alectra Help?

We have ongoing multi-residential charging pilot programs and can assist you with your charging needs. We encourage you email us for more information.

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We recognize that technological advancements in the automotive industry, specifically with EVs offers a significant learning curve - especially when it comes to using new technologies associated with electric vehicle ownership. We have gathered helpful resources containing information and education/awareness about EVs to assist in your purchasing decision here.


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