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Mythbuster: The truth about electric cars

Mythbuster: The truth about electric cars

Electric cars are becoming more popular around the world, as many people are looking for ways to decrease their personal carbon footprint. However, some are hesitant to make the switch and are unsure if an electric vehicle can meet their needs. 

To help you understand if an electric vehicle is right for you, we’ve compiled a list of common myths and the truth behind them. 

Myth: Electric cars can’t handle cold weather

Fact: It is true that cold weather decreases the range of electric cars, but that’s not unique — gas cars also lose fuel efficiency in cold weather. On average, at -6 C an electric vehicle’s range can decrease by one-third, whereas gas powered cars will see a decrease of about 15%.1

You can extend the range of your electric vehicle by pre-heating the car while it’s still plugged in and using seat warmers instead of cabin heaters while driving. Additionally, you likely don’t need your electric vehicle’s full range to get you through your day-to-day driving around town — many of the latest models have ranges of between 320-480 km, so you could expect to get at least 200km in cold weather.

Anecdotally, electric vehicles have even been known to handle a harsh winter in the Yukon. According to a CBC article, one Yukon driver found that his electric car performed well even at -39 C and had no problem starting at all temperatures.

Myth: There aren’t enough charging stations in Alberta

A woman plugs her electric car into a charging station while a man sands behind her looking at the car.Fact: More charging stations are being added every year across the country. The cities with the most charging stations in Alberta are Calgary with 186 public charging stations, Edmonton with 106 and Banff with 38.

There is also an electric vehicle fast-charging corridor between Edmonton and Calgary, ensuring that there are fast charging stations every 150km along highway 2.3 

Myth: Electric cars are unaffordable

Fact: Electric cars can cost more up front but are more affordable to run in the long term. In fuel costs alone, the average driver might spend only $300-400 to charge their electric vehicle in a year but would spend $1,000-$2,500 in gas for the same amount of driving. To incentivize use of electric vehicles, some cities have free public charging stations.

Electric cars also require less maintenance than gas powered vehicles and will last thousands of road hours longer between maintenance checks. Plus, they don’t require oil changes.4 Batteries will need to be replaced after around 130,000 to 200,000 km, but some manufacturers offer battery warranty to ensure that your battery lasts at least 10 years after your purchase.4

There are also incentives from the federal government to help Canadians afford electric cars. Depending on the model, you can get up to a $5,000 discount.5 The average cost of a new car in Alberta is $47,400, but with the government incentive you can get a new electric vehicle for $40,000.

Myth: Electric cars take too long to charge

Fact: The time it takes to charge your battery depends on what charging station you use. DC fast charging stations are the fastest, giving electric vehicles 95-130km per 20 minutes of charge. These types of charging stations are less common but are becoming more popular. Level 2 charging stations, similar to the type of outlet that powers your washing machine, can give about 40km per hour of charge. Level 1 charging stations, similar to your basic household outlet, give around 19km per hour of charge.

If you frequently drive longer distances and are worried about finding fast charging stations, there are plug in hybrids that can use gas once their battery is depleted, allowing you to have the advantage of an electric vehicle for shorter distances and the convenience of gas fuel for longer trips. 

Myth: No one in Alberta is buying electric cars

Fact: Electric vehicle sales are increasing around the world, and Alberta is no exception. In a 2021 survey, 54% of Albertans said they were likely or very likely to purchase something electric as their next vehicle.7 As electric car ownership increases, the charging infrastructure will also increase, adding to the appeal of owning an electric vehicle.

Are you interested in purchasing an electric car? To find out how buying an electric car will impact your insurance rates, get a quote from a TW Insurance Broker today by calling 1-855-894-2782.  

1.    U.S. Department of Energy - Fuel Economy in Cold Weather
2.    Charge Hub - General EV Charging Information 
3.    Flo - Alberta's FLO Fast EV Charging Corridor is Now Complete
4.    How to Geek - What to consider before buying an electric car
5.    Alberta EV - EV Incentives are here!
6.    Motor Illustrated - Study shows average new-car price in Canada is $40,490
7.    CTV news Calgary - Electric vehicle use expected to skyrocket in Alberta in next decade