The Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle on display at the 2018 Canadian International AutoShow.
Canadians can save a whack of dough by buying an electric vehicle, according to a new study – upwards of 77 per cent when compared to the costs of operating and maintaining a gas-powered vehicle.
The 2 Degrees Institute compared the costs of fuel and maintenance of operating battery electric and gas-powered vehicles in each province in Canada. The report, “Comparing Fuel and Maintenance Costs of Electric and Gas Powered Vehicles in Canada,” found that beyond it being cheaper to operate an electric vehicle, Canadian households can save 66-77 per cent in operating costs by giving up traditional internal combustion engines.
The report looked only at out-of-pocket expenses over a 10-year period if a vehicle was driven 250,000 km over that time. The Institute used provincial average gas prices, electricity rates, vehicle maintenance costs and the average distance travelled by household.
It did not study costs associated with an electric vehicle such as ride performance, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and time spent arranging service appointments and at gas stations. Depreciation and insurance were also not included. The report, however, stated that depreciation – while once higher in EVs, — is more or less even in either engine option, it would expect electric vehicles to depreciate slower as re-selling an internal combustion engine vehicle “may become virtually impossible, while this is unlikely to be true of BEVs.”
“We knew that EVs were less expensive to operate, but after running the numbers, we were completely surprised by how substantial the savings were,” said James Pawley, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an author of the study.
The study used two vehicles from each of Volkswagen and Kia vehicles – one electric and one combustion vehicle option from each brand.
“We knew that EVs were less expensive to operate, but after running the numbers, we were completely surprised by how substantial the savings were.”
— James Pawley, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Purchase price is a barrier cited by many as to why electric vehicles make up just 2 per cent of sales in Canada. The study found that lifetime fuel and maintenance costs will run internal combustion engine car owners $45,000 on average, compared to just $13,000 with an electric option.
“These savings should be factored in when comparing the purchase price of BEVs and ICEs,” the report concluded, noting that some battery electric vehicles can be purchased for under $18,000, which means the car could pay for itself in fuel and maintenance savings alone.
The report also touted the benefits of moving away from fossil carbon as a fuel source, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“The large savings that Canadians can enjoy, make the switch to electric a no-brainer,” the institute said in an announcement.