How Much Would You Save If You Had an Electric Vehicle for Your Family Car?

With three kids in a slew of after-school activities, I do a lot of local, city driving. Some days, I do half a dozen back-and-forth trips to the dance studio, soccer field and swimming pool, and it doesn’t sound like I’ll be hanging up my “taxi driver” hat anytime soon.

I’ve been driving the same family car (a 2003 Honda Pilot) for nearly 11 years, and as gas prices continue to rise, I’m definitely starting to feel the drain on my bank account, with fuel-up costs hitting nearly $100 per week. As the kms continue to increase on my well-loved SUV, I’ve been on the hunt for a new family ride, and with more electric vehicles coming to market, I’m strongly considering making the switch.

For me, the biggest deterrent so far has been the significant spike in car costs when comparing EV cars to their gas-powered counterparts. Plug-in logistics and accessible charging station locations have also been a concern, as well as space—there are only so many EVs that can accommodate larger families like my family of five.

When Porsche Canada invited me to test drive the new Taycan Turbo S Cross Tourismo—Porsche’s first cross-utility vehicle and the latest addition to their e-mobility lineup, I was happy to take it for a spin to see how an electric vehicle would fit in with our family. Sure, the sleek design of the station-wagon-like take on my favourite sports car was an obvious draw, but it was the thought of skipping a stop at a gas station for a week that really sealed the deal for me.

After cruising around the city in my “new” car, I realized that bypassing the pump for a few days wasn’t the only perk. With five seats, we could all fit comfortably. It also offers an off-road mode for navigating rougher terrain (perfect for life on the North Shore), and a rear carrier attachment (available for an added fee) that allows for the transporting of two e-bikes, if you really want to rev up your eco-footprint while living the luxe life. This high-end option starts at $119,900.

Don’t worry though, if an all-electric Porsche is out of your price range, it’s still possible to make the switch to an EV. Last year I took the 2021 Kia Soul EV Premium for a spin as well. With purchase prices starting at $42,895 (far less than the base price for one of the more commonly known EV brands), I realized that there’s more variety (both in pricing and models) in the EV space than I had thought. There’s something for everyone now—from cost-conscious cars to high-end luxury rides—making the potential switch from gas to electric an even easier endeavor for families like mine.

Are more Canadians switching to EVs?

According to a recent survey conducted by KPMG, 7 in 10 Canadians (68%) who plan to buy a new vehicle within the next five years are hoping to buy an electric vehicle (EV), so the thought is on the minds of many (I’m not alone).

Of the respondents located here in BC, 77% said that they were in the market for an EV, many as a result of the tax incentives and “green” rebates available for electric car purchases here in our province. Depending on your chosen make and model, you can receive up to $5,000 through the Government of Canada’s Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program (iZEV), as well as up to $3,000 off the purchase price through the CleanBC Go Electric Vehicle Rebate Program, which encourages the adoption of new ZEVs.

So how much can you potentially save with an EV?

According to Consumer Reports, the overall savings accrued when owning an electric vehicle can more than make up for the higher purchase price of an EV. In their report, the potential savings are broken into three categories:

Fuel savings: A typical EV owner can save an average of $800-$1,000 a year on gas costs when comparing their model to an equivalent gas-powered vehicle.

Maintenance and repair: Without the regular fluid changes and mechanical maintenance required by the average gas-powered car, an EV owner can see savings of around $4,600 over a lifetime.

Depreciation: The study also found that newer long-range EVs are holding their value as well or longer than their gas-powered counterparts. This of course depends on the class, features and reputation of the vehicle’s manufacturer.

On top of these savings, drivers in BC can enjoy the rebates and tax incentives outlined above.

Resources:

BC Hydro has created a site that helps potential electric vehicle drivers to directly compare the difference in savings when moving to an EV from a comparable gas-powered car. By entering a few details, BC Hydro’s site will create a personal estimate for you on the savings you can enjoy, including specific gas savings per EV model and any government rebates available to you.

To learn more about available rebates and tax incentives and eligible makes and models, you can also visit the Transport Canada website under zero-emission vehicles.

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