Detailed Information

In addition to the information provided below, you can also obtain personalized advice for your particular situation. Details here.

Electric Driving Range Purchase Cost Operating Cost Home Charging The Environment Vehicles Dealers
Image Nissan Leaf

The Electric Driving Experience

  • Electric vehicles are very quiet and without the vibration generated by a gas engine. The result is a feeling of floating along in silence. If you like listening to music, then you will be pleasantly surprised at how much better it sounds.

  • Because the vehicle makes no noise, there is a danger to pedestrians used to hearing gas engine vehicles coming their way. Therefore electric vehicles generally emit a soft artificial sound when travelling under 25 km per hour as well as a beeping sound when moving in reverse.

  • There are no gears or transmission. When you are stopped, the engine is stopped - no engine idling using up fuel and creating noise and vibration. Without gear changing, acceleration is rapid enough to push you back in your seat.

  • Most electric vehicles can cruise comfortably at highway speeds — silently.

  • Most people usually don't realize they are looking at an electric vehicle, but when they do become aware, they often display a great deal of interest and ask a lot of questions. Thus our interest in using bumper stickers to make people aware of electric vehicles.

  • For those wanting to try out the electric vehicle experience for a few days, the car rental agency EV Rentals, located in Richmond, rents the Chrysler Pacifica, Tesla Model S75, Model S100D, Model X90D and Model 3, all on our list of vehicles, and a couple of other plug-in hybrid vehicles. Plug-in Richmond members receive a 5% discount.

Image Tesla Model S

Range Required for Daily Combined City/Highway Driving

  • Most Richmond residents probably drive an average of 30 km per day. However, they would like to be able to drive an electric vehicle 75 km without recharging. The distance from Richmond Centre to Canada Place in downtown Vancouver is 16 km. Two return trips downtown in one day with an extra margin for safety would be 75 km, well within the range of the electric vehicles listed here.

  • Most owners charge their electric vehicles overnight at home. When the return trip exceeds the range of the vehicle, owners want to recharge the vehicle at the destination in less than an hour for the trip home. This requires an electric vehicle with Level 3 charging capability and a Level 3 public charging station at the destination which can usually recharge the battery to 80% capacity in a half hour. While a rapidly increasing number of Level 3 charging stations are being installed, Level 2 charging is more widely available and takes about 4 hours for most electric vehicles with a fully depleted battery.

Range Required for Longer Highway Trips

  • The EPA combined city/highway electric range rating shown in the vehicle listing is reduced as speed of the vehicle increases. Climbing mountains also reduces range although about 70% is recovered when descending through regenerative braking.

  • The chart below shows the average adjusted electric range required for typical destinations from Richmond by increasing the actual distance from Richmond to account for a highway speed of 110 km/h and the total mountain climbing and descent. An additional 5% cushion has also been added to allow for individual vehicle variation from the average and a reserve. Some drivers may want a larger reserve. The adjusted electric range required for a particular destination can be directly compared to the EPA electric range ratings in the vehicle listing. See the note below the chart for an explanation of the range calculations. The calculations may change as we receive feedback from electric vehicle drivers who have driven these routes.

  • No reduction in range is included in the chart for use of the vehicle's heating and air conditioning systems and loss of battery efficiency outside the ideal outside operating temperature of 15-25°C. Use of these systems and loss of battery efficiency will reduce range on average by 10% for an outside temperature of 5°C or 30°C.

  • There are level 3 charging facilities in Hope that in 40 minutes or less can recharge the 206 km of range used in getting to Hope. The range requirements from Hope to Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna are shown for vehicles with batteries large enough to reach these destinations without further recharging.

  • Destinations from Richmond Required Range to Destination Required Range Return Trip Actual Distance Total Climb Total Descent
    White Rock   52 km   52 km   40 km    213 m    213 m
    Bellingham 103 km 103 km   78 km    636 m    636 m
    Seattle 288 km 288 km 220 km 1,555 m 1,555 m
    Sechelt   97 km   97 km   75 km    925 m    925 m
    Squamish 103 km 103 km   80 km    905 m    905 m
    Whistler 199 km 183 km 136 km 1,941 m 1,275 m
    Langley   58 km   58 km   45 km    197 m    191 m
    Abbotsford 105 km 104 km   80 km    456 m    418 m
    Hope 206 km 205 km 160 km    690 m    649 m

    Destinations from Hope Required Range to Destination Required Range Return Trip Actual Distance Total Climb Total Descent
    Merritt 180 km 166 km 120 km 1,549 m    944 m
    Kamloops 305 km 297 km 215 km 2,952 m 2,628 m
    Kelowna 341 km 333 km 240 km 3,423 m 3,080 m

    Note: As a rough guide, the EPA equivalent range for highway only driving at 100 kilometers per hour (km/h) is 90% of the electric range shown in the vehicle listing. This drops to 85% for highway driving at 110 km/h. Above that speed, tire size, headwinds, weight of occupants, open windows and aerodynamic design influence range, but it is generally 75-80% at 120 km/h. Tesla vehicles with all-wheel-drive dual motors (D models) achieve 80-85% at 120 km/h by turning off one of the motors until it is needed for acceleration. Mountain terrain reduces a vehicle’s range by about 10 km for every 300 m of climb in elevation. Regenerative braking will recover about 7 km of range for every 300 m of descent. Note that if the vehicle has a full battery at the mountain top, it will not be able to absorb the power from regenerative braking on the way down.

Image BMW i3

Purchase Cost

  • Electric vehicles are more expensive to purchase, but less expensive to operate. See Operating Cost below.

  • Aside from the Chevrolet Bolt, BMW i3 and Tesla models that have higher Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP), most of the electric vehicles fall into the $30,000 to $40,000 price range. The list is here. With the exception of the Teslas, the MSRP is a starting point for negotiation as it is with most gas engine vehicles.

  • With the exception of vehicles with a MSRP over $77,000 (Tesla Models S and X), all of the vehicles on the list qualify for the $5,000 BC Government rebate that applies to all vehicles with a battery capacity above 15kWh. That rebate has not been deducted from the MSRP shown on the list. The vehicle dealer will deduct it at time of purchase and claim it from the Government. If you are scrapping a gas engine vehicle and purchasing a designated electric vehicle from an authorized dealer at the same time, take advantage of the incentives offered by BC SCRAP-IT. The incentive is $6,000 if a new electric vehicle is purchased and $3,000 if it is used. For 2018, the available incentives have been allocated to each participating dealer and the regulations require that you first get the dealer to assign an incentive to your electric vehicle order and then apply to BC SCRAP-IT.

  • From time to time, a manufacturer will offer a sizeable rebate for a limited period such as the $4,500 rebate offered by Ford on the 2017 Focus Electric in March 2018. Combined with the BC rebate, that is $9,500 off the MSRP price before negotiation with the dealer.

  • As with gas engine vehicles, purchase cost negotiation varies greatly depending on the individual purchaser, the dealer and the particular day. It is usually best to first obtain a quote including all desired accessories, extras and tax. From this total, the BC Government rebate and the manufacturer's rebate, if any, are deducted. The dealer can then be asked what additional discount can be offered. The purchaser can then offer somewhat less and see what happens. In many cases, the dealer is anxious to show a high sales figure for each month and is more inclined to offer additional discounts near the end of the month rather than at the beginning.

  • Assuming that a home charging station is being installed, the cost should be added to the purchase cost of the vehicle. See below.

  • There are links to used electric vehicle sources on our Dealers page.

ImageKia Soul EV

Operating Cost

  • According to an analysis by Metro Vancouver quoted in this 2014 City of Richmond Report, over a 12 year lifespan, an electric vehicle that travels 20,000 km annually, "will save the owner approximately $20,000 in fuel costs, compared to a comparable gas engine vehicle." Even at a low gasoline price of $1/L and 12,000 km annually, the savings will be $10,000 to $15,000.

  • A typical new electric vehicle warranty guarantees that the battery's capacity will not drop below 70% in the first 8 years or 160,000 km. Replacement of an entire battery is rare. The replacement cost of the Nissan Leaf's battery is in the $7,000 range. That cost is offset by the considerable savings on maintenance over the life of the vehicle.

  • There is very little maintenance required since there are neither oil changes nor engine, transmission and exhaust system issues. The electric motor is used to slow the vehicle through regenerative braking and the brakes only bring it to a full stop. With so little use, brake pads are generally expected to last 150,000 km. Regenerative braking also has the advantage of charging the battery while the vehicle is slowing.

Image Sun Country Highway Charging Station

Home Charging

Additional information on home charging for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs) is available here.

  • All electric vehicles can be recharged using a standard 120V electrical outlet (level 1 charging), but it will usually take too long for convenient use at home and will only be used elsewhere when no other option is available. A 120V recharging cable is supplied with the vehicle.

  • Most owners prefer to cut the recharging time dramatically by installing a 240V outlet (level 2 charging) in their garage or carport. Tesla vehicles are supplied with a recharging cable that will plug directly into the 240V outlet and the charger in the vehicle is 240V fault tolerant allowing for safe charging. Other vehicles require an external charging station (also called an EVSE) mounted on the garage wall that provides the fault tolerance and has a cable that connects to the charger in the vehicle. A charging station with a maximum current around 30 amps will accommodate vehicles with a 7.4 kW or 6.6 kW charger while those with a maximum current around 16 amps will only allow for 3.3 kW, doubling the charging time. The vehicles on the list of electric vehicles have 7.4 kW or 6.6 kW chargers except for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Chevy Volt that have 3.3 kW chargers.

  • It is important to verify that there is sufficient power available in the home. A charging station with a maximum current around 30 amps will require a 40 amp circuit breaker in the electrical panel. If there is only 100 amps available in the electrical panel and the home uses an electric stove, electric clothes dryer and/or electric water heater, then it may be necessary to restrict the maximum current of the charging station or install an electrical load switch. The switch, such as the Load Miser, allows the charging station and an appliance like a stove to share one circuit. Power to the charging station is cut if the stove is turned on. This works well, especially if the vehicle charging takes place overnight.

  • The list of electric vehicles shows which vehicles have Level 3 DC fast charging capability at 400V and higher that can recharge most vehicles to at least 80% of capacity in around a half hour. This is beyond the capability of home charging stations and requires a public station with direct access to the electrical grid. Level 3 charging stations are not yet widely available. There are three types of level 3 charging connectors: Tesla Supercharger, CHAdeMO used by the Japanese manufacturers and SAE Combo (also known as CCS) used by U.S. and German manufacturers.

  • Most electric vehicles can be programmed to charge in the middle of the night when demand on the electric grid is very low making surplus power available. For this reason, we are encouraging governments to put more funding into home charging rather than public charging which is mostly done during the day.

  • The cost of a home 240V charging station can vary widely. Expensive models with internet connectivity for remote monitoring may stop charging if connectivity is lost. Most electric vehicles come with smartphone software that remotely monitors charging through the vehicle rather than the charging station. Charging stations that require hard wiring to the electrical panel rather than a plug to a 240V outlet can be costly to relocate if you move. Although hardwiring may be necessary in an outside location open to the elements, some plug-in models are weatherproof and use a 240V outlet in a weatherproof housing. The 30 amp plug-in charging station manufacturers mentioned below also sell hardwired models and/or models with lower and higher amperage ratings.

  • Costco sells the Sun Country Highway 32 amp plug-in EV40P (made by Clipper Creek) (Item #1047148) for $849.99. Costco also sells the Sun Country Highway 20 amp plug-in SCH25P (made by Clipper Creek) (Item #1047159) for $699.99.

  • Canadian Kia Soul EV buyers can get a better deal. Kia has partnered with Bosch on its 30 amp plug-in Power Max 2 which normally sells for US $749 plus shipping. Call Bosch at (844) 317-9525 for Canadian prices. Kia Soul EV buyers should call the same number to take advantage of a $625 discount currently being offered by Kia.

  • The Webasto EV Solutions 30 amp plug-in Webasto 30 has a list price of US $749 plus shipping (currently on sale for US $549). Webasto EV Solutions will also arrange for installation at extra cost.

  • The FLO 30 amp Home G5 sells for $995 plus $40 for the plug-in accessory.

  • The Chargepoint 32 amp plug-in CPH25-L25-P sells on line in Canada for $1,099.

  • If a hardwired model is required, there are many more to choose from in addition to the hardwired versions of the above charging stations. For example, BMW sells its own charging station with installation, Home Depot sells the 30 amp Leviton Evr-green for $859.00.

  • Installation by a professional electrician in a garage not far from the electrical panel will likely cost $300. We can recommend an installation electrician if you send an Information Request below.


The Environment

  • For those interested in reducing their household's direct greenhouse gas emissions, switching to an electric vehicle has by far the greatest impact. BC Government statistics show that household vehicle use accounts for 44.6% of household GHG emissions while household space heating and cooling is responsible for 16.6% and water heating for 8%. Air travel accounts for 13.1%; bus and rail for 2.4%. Even using a gas engine vehicle 20% of the time for longer trips would still save 35.7% of of household GHG emissions by switching to an electric vehicle for daily travel.

  • According to a 2014 City of Richmond Report, personal automobile use in Richmond contributes 41% of community greenhouse gas emissions. According to the BC Government, new 2015 model gas engine vehicles emit about 3 tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) annually. Electric vehicles emit none.

  • In some jurisdictions, electricity is generated using coal or other fossil fuels which generate GHG and to some extent negate the reduction in emissions from switching to electric vehicles. However in BC, our electricity is generated by hydro power which does not generate GHG and gives us the full benefit from using electric vehicles..

  • The disposal of motor oil used in gas engines and transmissions can harm the environment. Motor oil picks up a variety of hazardous contaminants including lead, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, dioxins, benzene and polycyclic aromatics. Electric vehicles do not require motor oil nor use toxic gas additives.