Despite being available to Canadians since 2011, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are still a rare sight on Canadian roads. In May 2018, electric vehicles made up just 2% of total vehicle sales.
One of the perceived barriers to a higher adoption rate is the initial purchase price of an electric vehicle. Is a BEV worth this higher price compared to an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV)? That is the question that this report addresses. The report does not address the other benefits of owning a BEV such as the improved ride experience, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, or the reduction in time wasted arranging vehicle service appointments and visits to the gas station. It only analyses out-of-pocket costs. To do this the authors use a model that compares the annual costs of fuel and maintenance of domestic ICEV and BEV vehicles for each province in Canada.
This report puts numbers on these savings by factoring in provincial averages for the price of gasoline, electricity rates, vehicle maintenance costs, and the average distance travelled per household. The authors compare two similar cars that are available in both ICE and battery electric versions. Assuming a 250,000 km service life over 10 years, the model finds the BEVs cost 65-77% less than their ICE counterparts depending on the province.