Gas Prices Steering Canadians Towards Electric Vehicles

By John Hayden

As volatile gas prices continue to rise steadily, Canadian drivers are desperately seeking an offramp from this spiralling crisis. The answer is obvious: go electric!

This is the solution for many drivers in Nova Scotia, where dealerships selling electric vehicles have seen a steady increase in sales over the past few years. However, this upsurge has exploded during the current fuel crisis.

Lower EV Upkeep with Affordable Auto Loans

When families are paying close to $150 a week to fill up their family vehicles, they start to compare the costs of electricity with traditional fossil fuels. In comparison, a full battery charge costs around six dollars.

Maintenance costs are far lower as well, with no expenses like oil changes to factor into monthly budgets. Electric vehicle financing options are both flexible and favourable, with loan terms of up to 96 months for fuel cell, battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid-electric models.

Many Canadians believe that electric cars are high-priced – but not everyone needs to buy an expensive Tesla. Affordable top sellers – like the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq, and Chevrolet Bolt – are designed for regular families who are reliable ride for commuting through the week and getting out of town on occasional road trips. Priced between $25,000 and $35,000, they slot smoothly into most family budgets, particularly with federal and provincial incentives.

Federal Zero Emission Incentives Program

The Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program offers point-of-sale incentives for Canadians buying or leasing new ZEV vehicles. Naturally, they must comply with the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and also the specific requirements listed on the Transport Canada website:

  • intended for use on public streets and highways at normal speeds and with at least four wheels;
  • six seats or less, with a base model Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of under $45,000; and
  • seven or more seats, when the base model Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is under $55,000; and
  • more expensive versions of these vehicles, up to a ceiling MSRP of $55,000 or $60,000 respectively.

This Program offers two main incentives:

  • up to $5,000 for hydrogen fuel cell, battery-electric, and longer range plug-in hybrid vehicles with a battery capacity of at least 15 kWh;
  • up to $2,500 for shorter range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a battery capacity of less than 15 kWh.

East Coast All Plugged In

At the provincial level, the entire Atlantic seaboard is now offering EV purchase rebates. Each of these initiatives is designed to nurture drivers towards going electric, by deleveraging critical equity elements. In addition to vehicle rebates, consumers may also apply for $750 credits for installing Level II home chargers.

The 2021 budget adopted by Newfoundland and Labrador included an Electric Vehicle Accelerator incentive. This program offers residents a $2500 rebate on new electric vehicle purchases. Perhaps encouraged by Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia announcing their provincial rebate commitments in early 2021, New Brunswick joined the trend a few months later.

This rebate program offers $5000 on new EV purchases; $2500 for leases, new hybrid-electric vehicles, and second-hand EVs, with $1000 for used hybrids. These rebates can be combined with the $5000 rebate offered by the Federal Government to all Canadians buying electric vehicles.

New Brunswick Focused on Emission Targets

By 2020, New Brunswick had almost forty public charging stations, but less than 500 EVs on the road. Launched in mid-2021, this provincial program is designed to surmount one of the main hurdles hampering the adoption of electric vehicles in Canada: high sticker prices.

Offsetting this initial disadvantage, NB Power believes that EV drivers will spend around $500 a year on charging their vehicles, compared to some $2,000 on gas. Extending that figure nationwide, budget-wise Canadians will soon be saving thousands of dollars a year – while saving our planet as well.

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