Electric Vehicles

At CAA, we’re dedicated to helping Canadians with their travels – whether it’s by car, bike, plane, train, bus, snow shoes, etc. And one way we’re helping is by providing relevant, unbiased information, like the new developments in driving technology.

CAA Manitoba is here to answer some of your questions about Electric Vehicles (EVs), with special emphasis on the Battery Electric Vehicle.

What is an Electric Vehicle?

An electric vehicle, also known as an EV, uses one or more electric motors for propulsion. The electric motor is connected to a battery that is charged by plugging it into a power source. EV’s use only electricity to operate and do not require the use of any fossil fuels to operate.

Why go Electric?

Cruise control. GPS navigation. Bluetooth. You have lots of options to consider when looking at a vehicle. And now you have the newest option to choose – an electric motor. You can save on gas and maintenance costs, while giving the environment a break from the effects of fossil fuels.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

There are many benefits to owning an electric vehicle, including:

  • Reduced fossil fuel dependency
  • Require less maintenance
  • No fuel expenses
  • Zero emissions
  • Reduced vehicle noise
  • Clean and cost effective to run
  • Costs about $1.25 for a full charge versus $50 - $100 to fill a gas tank

Challenges of Electric Vehicles

Currently electric vehicle prices are higher than gas powered vehicles but overtime the fuel savings and reduced maintenance costs make up for the price difference.

Manitoba winters also prove to be a challenge for electric vehicles as they are not able to hold a charge as long in the winter months as they are in the summer. The length of a charge is all dependant of use of the heater or air conditioning system, radio, weather conditions, driving habits, road conditions and weight inside the vehicle.

FAQ

What are the different types of EVs?

There are three types of electric vehicles on the market available to consumers.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV):
A Hybrid Electric Vehicle has an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The gas fuelled engine charges the electric motor, which turns the transmission. HEV’s include vehicles such as the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius.

Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV):
The Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle has a battery and electric drive chain and an internal combustion engine that will recharge the vehicle after the battery has lost its charge. These vehicles do have a gasoline engine that gives drivers more freedom for longer trips. Vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt are considered PHEV’s.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV):
A Battery Electric Vehicle has a battery and electric drive train that derives all power from an external plug in. There is no internal combustion engine in this vehicle. This vehicle does not require the use of gasoline to operate.


Why should I consider a BEV?

There are number of environmental and long-term cost benefits:

  • Zero emissions
  • Zero energy consumption while idling
  • Near zero noise pollution
  • Nearly a penny per km
  • 100+km/hr speeds for comfortable highway driving
  • Zero oil changes and lower maintenance costs

What are the drawbacks of a BEV?

Considering that most Canadians drive less than 50km a day, a BEV is highly suitable. However, there are some issues that may limit BEV adoption:

  • High cost of batteries leading to higher purchase prices
  • Little infrastructure and charging stations for extended road trips
  • -20 and lower temperatures can cause startup issues

How does charging work?

EV charging is broken down into three categories:

Level 1: The 110V 15A standard household outlet (with supplied power cord. No extension cord permitted) in your garage – approx. 20hrs

Level 2: A specially installed 220V 15A (similar to a washing machine outlet) charging station installed in your garage – approx. 7hrs

Level 3: A 440V 50kW quick charging station (vehicle must include the quick charging port option) – approx. 30min


How far can a BEV travel before needing a plug in?

Between 140 – 180 km (depending on car brand): Range is also affected by road conditions and driving habits. Drivers familiar with EVs have adopted driving methods that minimize power usage, dramatically stretching out distance travelled on a full charge.


How fast can a BEV go?

Max speed approx. 140 km/hr: With one gear, an EV’s torque packs a punch, allowing drivers to adapt to traffic patterns on any road or highway.


Where is the best place to own a BEV?

Urban centres: With no energy used at stops, city drivers would find EVs perfect for all the reds and greens of getting to work, grocery store, movie theatres, etc. Though, highway commuters with a Level 2 charging station and less than a 100 km roundtrip drive could certainly benefit.


How safe are BEVs?

BEVs developed by major automobile manufacturers meet the same safety standards expected of all vehicles on the road.


Are BEVs suitable for Manitoba’s winters?

Like most Manitobans know, vehicle batteries don’t like extreme cold. BEVs are new to our roads, so we’ll be testing and reporting how our model performs.


What is the lifespan of BEV battery?

Approximately 8 years, plus many car manufacturers offer 8-year warranties on their batteries. Though expensive to replace, those prices are expected to drop over time.

Resources

CAA National Website
electricvehicles.caa.ca

Green Car Reports Website
greencarreports.com

The Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association
manitobaev.ca

Drive Electric Manitoba
driveelectricmanitoba.ca

Federal Government
CanmetENERGY

Manitoba Hydro
Electric Vehicles

Electric Mobility Canada
emc-mec.ca

Other Provinces/Cities
Ontario
BC Hydro
Vancouver
Plug 'n Drive Ontario
Hydro Québec

Other Electric Vehicle Associations
Electric Vehicle Society of Canada
Green Action Centre
Plug In America

Environmental Organizations
Pembina Institute
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Union of Concerned Scientists
Natural Resources Defense Council
Sierra Club
Story of Stuff

Videos
300 Years of Fossil Fuels
Energy 101
Get Answers on Electric Vehicles

Twitter
@GreenActionCtr (Green Action Centre)
@PlugN_Drive (Plug 'n Drive Ontario)