Myths Blocking Road to Electric Vehicle Adoption

VANCOUVER — A report released by BC Hydro on Apr 23, 2018, finds cost is the number one perceived barrier preventing British Columbians from purchasing an electric vehicle.

While the increasing price of gas has a third of British Columbians saying they are interested in making the switch to an electric vehicle, more than half believe electric vehicles are still too expensive.

The report from BC Hydro, entitled Unplugged: Myths block road to the electric car dream [PDF, 212 KB] has good news for the more than 55 per cent of those surveyed who said their prime motivation for buying an electric vehicle would be to save money on gas and maintenance.

According to the report, over the long-term, some electric vehicles are less expensive than comparable gas-powered cars in ownership costs. One of the reasons electric vehicles are cheaper is due to B.C. having among the lowest electricity rates in North America.

This is how popular models stack up in cost of ownership per year (excluding depreciation costs):

2018 Nissan Leaf ($2,848) vs. 2018 Honda Civic ($4,313)

2018 Chevrolet Bolt ($3,299) vs. 2018 Chevrolet Spark ($4,298)

2018 Kia Soul EV ($3,109) vs. 2018 Kia Soul gas-powered ($4,845)

While sticker shock is the most common perceived barrier for British Columbians, the report also found other misconceptions, including:

Range anxiety: almost 40 per cent think today’s electric cars do not have enough battery range for longer trips.

Charging station availability: almost 90 per cent said there was not an electrical vehicle charging station available at their home or residential complex, even though a standard 120-volt household outlet can be used for vehicle charging.

Model variety: only 20 per cent said there was an electric vehicle that offered exactly what they need in terms of size and features.

This year, there are seven fully electric vehicle models for sale in B.C. with a battery range of at least 150 kilometres that are less than $40,000 after a provincial rebate. Ninety-five per cent of all car trips in British Columbia are less than 30 kilometres.

“BC Hydro is supporting electric vehicle adoption in B.C. by working with local, provincial and federal governments on initiatives to expand its fast charging station network,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “There are currently more than 1,000 charging stations – including 30 fast charging stations, with 26 additional stations planned to be added this year.”

B.C. is one of only three Canadian provinces to offer rebates for the purchase of an electric vehicle. Rebates of up to $5,000 are available for battery electric vehicles, and up to $2,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. When combined with SCRAP-IT program incentives, total savings on the purchase of a battery electric vehicle could be up to $11,000.

Earlier this year, the BC Government also announced three new rebates for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle chargers at homes, residential complexes and workplaces.