How much will it really cost to switch to electrical vehicles?

By Geoff Agombar – Local Journalism Initiative
How much will it really cost to switch to electrical vehicles?

In the most recent Quebec budget, it was announced that rebates on electric vehicle (EV) purchases will be reduced as of April 1, 2022.

New fully-electric vehicle purchases will be eligible for provincial rebates up to $7,000, down from $8,000. New plug-in hybrids will decrease to $5,000 from $8,000, and the maximum rebate for a used fully-electric purchase will be just $3,500, down from $4,000.

Quebec’s subsidies remain among the most generous in Canada. Many provinces have yet to offer EV rebates of their own.
The federal government offers an additional rebate of up to $5,000, in addition to provincial subsidies.

Statistics Canada has reported more than 65,000 battery-only or plug-in hybrid cars were registered in Canada in the first three quarters of 2021, more than in all of 2020. Three quarters of all Canadian electric vehicles were registered in British Colombia and Quebec. BC posted the highest percentage of EV registration per capita.

In Quebec, EV purchase rebates apply to approved models with a retail price under $60,000. The purchase of a 240-volt home charging station is also eligible for support up to $600. A full list of eligible vehicles and charging stations is available at

The Legault government announced in November 2020 that Quebec plans to ban sales of new gas-powered vehicles in the province by 2035. The provincial government has also targeted 1.5 million electric vehicles on Quebec roads by 2030.
Clean Energy Canada published a report on March 30 titled The True Cost, which strives to simplify the cost comparison of ownership of a new EV in Canada.

The sticker price for an EV, plug-in hybrid, or hybrid is typically markedly higher than a comparable gas-powered model, even after rebates. However, regular cars cost more to operate and maintain. Monthly payments on an EV purchase may be higher, but the cost of gas, oil changes and other combustion engine-related consumables are nil.

So, what would it cost to own a new car in Canada for the next 8 years, driving 20,000 kilometres per year, if gas prices held steady at the 2021 national average of $1.35/L?

To span the range of choices, the report compares one fully-electric and one gas-powered model of a hatchback, sedan, SUV, crossover, premium and truck from manufacturers ranging from Ford, Tesla, Lexus, Volkswagen, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota to Chevrolet.

Let’s highlight their comparison of a 2022 Chevy Bolt versus a 2022 Corolla Hatchback, because that is the only case where a third scenario at a more extreme $2/L average for gas was also calculated in full.

Average cost per kilometer to own and maintain a 2022 Chevy Bolt for 8-years, including depreciation, fuel, maintenance, repairs, taxes, insurance, and other costs, was projected at $0.33/km.

If gas were to hold steady at an average $1.35/L, the 2022 Corolla Hatchback was projected to average $0.45/km (+37 per cent) over the same timeframe and use.

So, in 2022 it costs $38,198 to buy the Bolt and just $21,450 to buy the Corolla Hatchback. But driving 20,000 kilometres a year with gas stayed at $1.35/L, by 2030 owning the Bolt is projected to cost $51,848 versus $71,162 (+$19,314) for the Corolla Hatchback.
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