What to Expect from Electric Cars

With 45.8 per cent of Québec drivers willing to consider an e-car next time they're in the market to buy, what can you expect from these vehicles?

Rarely do we pay close attention to the number of kilometres we travel by car each day, but if you're thinking of buying an electric car it's an important consideration. The fact is, the majority of Québec drivers are behind the wheel less than 45 km daily, a distance e-cars easily allow without issue. On average, e-cars can travel 100 km to 120 km on a single battery charge so for most people, this means being able to commute for 2 to 3 days without having to recharge the battery.

The benefits of driving an electric car

Until recently, electric cars were widely perceived as a curious object, and in certain cases had a bad reputation in the public's eye as well as in the automotive world. These perceptions are slowly fading away. Electric cars are increasingly capturing the hearts and minds of Québec motorists as illustrated by a recent Kanetix.ca survey that revealed nearly one out of every two Québec drivers would consider buying an electric car as their next vehicle.

A few factors may explain this shift. Many e-car owners say they were seduced by the idea of doing the right thing for the environment while getting the benefits of driving a silent and non-polluting car. Saving money in the long run is also described as an important motivation. E-cars cost between $1,000 and $2,000 less a year on gas and maintenance; a savings worth several thousands of dollars over a period of 5 to 10 years.

Managing your moves

Electric cars now offer enough freedom to commuters living and working in an urban environment to enjoy the benefits of driving such a car (a quiet ride, pollution-free, lower costs etc.)

With an average battery life of between 100 km and 120 km, a single battery charge allows enough power for people living up to 50 kilometres away from their workplace, to commute back and forth daily. E-cars can even be used by people living further away, at the condition they recharge the battery. This can be done directly at their workplace when available or through public charging stations that are increasingly present, especially in urban centres.

As far as longer trips go, all that’s required is a little planning. There are more than 800 charging stations in Quebec placed strategically on most major roads and highways, allowing to get almost anywhere in the province. It takes roughly 20 minutes to recharge a battery with the fast charging stations, enough time to read your e-mails and sip a coffee.

Within 2 years’ time, observers anticipate the average e-car should have an autonomy of about 300 kilometres.

Cayenne côté

Choosing the right model

There are many electric cars in the market. Of course, there’s the Tesla S model which offers comfort and highly technical features with over 400 km of autonomy at a price starting at about $80,000. Eager to enter the mass market, the company has just released its Model 3 prototype. Pre-orders already exceed 300,000 worldwide. Tesla promises its Model 3 will get 300 km on a charge and should sell for $35 000 USD.

The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are also excellent choices for people who want a more affordable car. In fact, a growing number of choices are now available as most major car manufacturers are already offering e-cars or plan to do so.

If you live in Québec, you can use this reservation service to book a free road test on the most popular electric car models.

Discounts on car insurance?

Driving an e-car may also be a good way to save on your Quebec car insurance. Some insurers offer electric car owners eco-friendly discounts that in some cases are as much as 20 per cent. As rates will vary, it is a good idea to compare car insurance rates to see how much you could save if an electric car is in your future.