The Benefits of Electric Vehicles in Newfoundland
What is an Electric Vehicle?
Get ready world, electric vehicles (EVs) are coming, and they are coming FAST! An electric vehicle, also referred to as a battery electric vehicle, is a vehicle that runs solely on batteries and an electric motor, rather than a internal combustion engine (ICE). Instead of gasoline, electric vehicles recharge using electricity either from a home charger or a public charger. Since EVs run on electricity, there is absolutely no emissions exhausted from the vehicle. The typical rumble you normally hear from an ICE vehicle when it is started is completely eliminated in EVs. If you look under the hood of an EV, you’ll find significantly less hardware in comparison to an ICE vehicle, the battery pack not only powers the electric motor, but also each vehicle accessory in the car itself. Below is a graphic provided by afdc.energy.gov which highlights each component of a typical electric vehicle.
Electric Vehicle Maintenance
Here’s where a lot of the savings happen! A typical EV has significantly less hardware under the hood in comparison to a ICE vehicle meaning there’s a lot less maintenance! The electrical system (battery, motor, and associated electronics) typically requires minimal scheduled maintenance as opposed to a ICE vehicle. For comparison, here is a typical maintenance schedule for an ICE vehicle:
And here is the maintenance schedule for an electric vehicle:
As you can see, the maintenance for an EV is significantly lighter as opposed to an ICE vehicle, eliminating costs like; oil changes, spark plug replacements, transmission fluid top offs, draining and filling engine cooling system, less frequent brake changes, and more! In fact, the primary reason that there are less frequent break changes for EVs is because of their regenerative braking systems. These systems actually capture kinetic energy during deceleration storing it in the battery so it can be used as electricity to power the electric motor.
The Benefits of Living With An Electric Vehicle
Aside from being relatively new to the market, there are quite a lot of benefits to making the switch to an EV.
1. The Cost of Ownership
As mentioned previously, the cost of owning an EV is cheaper than ICE vehicles simply because there are less moving parts under the hood. This coupled with lower electricity prices in comparison to current gas prices makes driving electric a no brainer. In fact, in just fuel savings alone an electric vehicle can save you anywhere between $470-$1,925 per year. Additionally, you might get around 70 km per Canadian dollar with an electric car, while a gas vehicle will only give you around 30 km for the same cost. Of course, the actual amount of money you’ll spend on fuel depends on the exact make and model of your vehicle, how many kilometres you drive and other factors. Lastly, the average cost per year to charge an electric car is approximately $175-$630, versus a gas powered car which can cost approximately $1,100-$2,100 per year. On average an EV battery can roughly last around 320,000 kilometers which is approximately 15-21 years of driving if you drive about 15,000/20,000km per year.
In an internal combustion engine, the vehicle needs to build revs to find the engine’s optimal torque range. However, in an electric car, the response is immediate. The motor responds with no hesitation making peak torque available from zero rpm. This instantaneous response can be truly exhilarating pushing a passenger back in their seat once acceleration is applied!
EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions into the atmosphere making them significantly more environmentally friendly.
4. No More Gas Stations
Gone are the days of going to a gas station to fuel your car. Instead, approximately 90% of your vehicle charging is done at your home making your residence a personal charging hub for your vehicle. Infrastructure continues to improve as well, meaning more public chargers are becoming available across Newfoundland and Labrador to accommodate electric vehicle drivers. In fact, public charging stations, or electric vehicle supply equipment, are not as ubiquitous as gas stations. Charging equipment manufacturers, automakers, utilities, Clean Cities coalitions, municipalities, and government agencies are rapidly establishing a national network of public charging stations across Canada to ensure EVs are accommodated moving into an electric future.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial government unveiled its electric vehicle rebate in 2021 which provides people with a $2,500 rebate to people who purchase a new or used electric vehicle. The program itself is administered by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Full program criteria and applications are available on the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro website.
How to Prepare Your Home
Preparing your home for an EV comes with a change in lifestyle for you and your driving habits. Your home will now likely become your primary charging station for over 90% of your overall charging for your vehicle. Before you begin, it’s important to note that installing a charger is not an easy task and should be performed by a registered electrician. Next, you’ll need to choose between a Level 1 Charger or Level 2. Most EV owners who do not have a lot of time constraints will opt to choose a level 1 charger, despite the fact that it will take longer to charge. Typically, a Level 1 charger will give you approximately 4-8 kilometers per charging hour. Whereas a Level 2 charger can offer up to 40 kilometers/hour of charging, making it a significantly faster option. This option is much more expensive in installation costs as well compared to a Level 1 charger.
Locate Your Power Panel
The power panel is the most important part of your charging system and is where all the power that comes into a home is distributed to every part of the house where it is used. Most electrically upgraded homes today run on a 100 amp power panel. It’s easy to determine the capacity of your home. All you need to do is to look for the amperage that is printed on the main circuit breaker that manages the inflow of power for your home’s system.
Installing a Charging Station
As mentioned previously, installing a charging system can be quite dangerous, and should be completed by a professional electrician. Once your energy audit indicates that you have sufficient power for a charging station in your home, your next step is to install a 240-volt plug or have a circuit hardwired into your power panel. The cost of this work is usually around $1,000-$3,000. Your electrician might also tell you that, in order to install a charging station, they may have to cable back to the power pole on your street for the additional capacity. Infrastructure changes of this sort could increase your costs significantly. This doesn’t include other related costs, such as breaking and removal of concrete and other labor.
Why EV? Because It Makes Sense
As mentioned previously, EVs are coming and they’re coming fast with quite a lot of benefits for buyers. Not only do you receive rebates from the government on your purchase, but your savings in would be fuel costs and maintenance alone can be astronomical over time compared to a gas powered car. Have you considered making the switch? Drop into Hickman Chevrolet in St. John’s and explore your EV options with our sales professionals.
We’ve also shot a drive along video with Jon Seary, Owner of Drive Electric NL to ask him some common questions that Newfoundlanders may have about driving electric. Check it out below!