Are you interested in making your next car an electric? Well, you’re in luck; according to Plug’n Drive, a non-profit organization for the adoption of electric vehicles in Canada, there are 26 battery electric vehicles and 23 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for sale in Canada – and that’s not to mention the myriad of mild hybrids available from almost every manufacturer out there.
So, with such a dizzying selection, which is best for you?
First of all, you approach it like you would buying any kind of car: What’s your budget? And, what kind of room do you need? These electric vehicles are available as hatchbacks, sedans, crossovers and more, and can go from the low-$20,000s to well past $200,000. Keep in mind the full federal EV credit of $5,000 only applies to vehicles under $45,000 (buyers in B.C. and Quebec still get a provincial credit).
We’re also going to leave out the hybrid supercars, such as the McLaren P1; no one is looking to save the Earth with these high-horsepower machines.
For those who absolutely, positively need a battery-powered car
If you really want a pure electric car, with no gasoline engine to speak of, congratulations, you’re an early adopter! Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) currently on sale in Canada range from $29,050 (all prices base) for the Smart ForTwo Coupe EV up to just above $140,000, for Tesla Model X Long Range Performance crossover. The driving distances of BEVs can be anywhere from around 100 to 600 kilometres on a single charge, though for most it’s between 200 and 400 km – all depending, of course, on the model, the weather and how you drive it. What you’ll need, though, is the installation of a high-output charger at your home or office. Also, longer trips will have you planning routes with charging stations along the way, and you’ll need to wait an hour or more to “fill up” enough to continue. BEVs are also generally the most expensive electric cars by class, mainly due to the size of their batteries. Unless you absolutely need a Tesla, try looking at the Hyundai Kona Electric, a peppy new compact crossover with a range of 415 kilometres and a starting price of $44,999.
For those who want to dip a toe into the technology
Mild hybrids offer the most conventional driving experience of any electrified vehicle. Basically, most of the driving is powered by a conventional gasoline engine, while a small battery onboard is charged when braking and helps out with acceleration via an electric motor. Still, they get better fuel economy than a gas-only car, you don’t need to worry about plugging them in and they’re generally the least expensive of electrified vehicles in each class. Toyota wasn’t the first to market with a hybrid, but its Prius really made the technology mainstream and even today remains the gold standard in the class; it’s Prius C compact hatch is the least expensive, at $22,260. Interestingly, Ram introduced the only hybrid pickup available just last year, with two gas engines available on the full-sized 1500 with e-Torque mild hybrid systems for better fuel economy.
For those who want the best of both worlds
Making an impact on greenhouse emissions with your car is a noble plan; however, it’s still got to fit your life and what you need the vehicle to do. You want more than just a mild hybrid, but you still want to be able to take longer trips without the range anxiety. A plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) has a battery that is much smaller than a dedicated BEV’s, but still offers ranges from around 20 to 100 kilometres: more than enough for many people’s everyday commutes (only BMW’s i3 PHEV can reach 200 km on a battery). And when you need added range, the on-board gasoline engine springs to life, good for hundreds more klicks – and easily filled up at any gas station. If you want to drive every day on electrons, you’ll need a dedicated charger at your home or office. The least expensive is the Hyundai Ioniq Electric Plus at $32,290; prices go all the way up to $212,900 for the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Notably, the only electrified minivan available is on this list: the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, which goes 51 kilometres on electricity alone and starts at $48,995.
For those who want luxury
Wanting to use less gasoline doesn’t necessarily mean you want to save money; and it doesn’t mean you want to sacrifice handling, performance or opulent amenities, either. All three categories of EVs here contain offerings from luxury carmakers that offer supple leather interiors, advanced safety features and driving dynamics worthy of Germany’s Autobahn. There is a wide range of plug-in hybrids (such as the BMW 530e xDrive or the Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e, to name a couple) and mild hybrids (Audi Q8 Hybrid, Lexus LS 500h and more), but when it comes to BEVs, the Jaguar I-Pace, with a range of 377 kilometres and a starting price of $89,800, is currently the only competitor to the Tesla lineup in terms of performance, comfort, luxury features and, of course, the badge on the hood. Next year, however, Audi will bring its e-tron crossover, while Porsche will debut its Taycan all-electric sedan, and other high-end automakers have BEVs in development. For those early adopters looking for luxury, there will be a plethora of choice.
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