Electric Vehicle (EV) Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions about EV:

  • Is an EV the same thing as a Hybrid?

  • Not exactly. An EV relies entirely on battery power to drive its electric motor and a hybrid vehicle uses a combination of both electricity and gasoline to power it's combustion engine.

  • How long do EVs last? As long as my gas-powered vehicle?

  • Yes! With an EV, the full bumper-to-bumper warranty applies whether you lease or buy. There's also the benefit of an 8-year/160,000-kilometer battery warranty. Federal rules require automakers to cover major components, like the battery and electric motor, for eight years or 160,000 Kilometers.

  • What are the standard features for an EV?

  • Most EVs have the same standard features you would see in new conventional vehicles, like Birdseye view cameras, cruise control, lane-centering assist, blind-spot monitoring, and much more. Since EVs don’t require bulky gasoline engines, transmissions, and other large components, they are more spacious on the inside than their gasoline vehicle counterparts. More storage is often available as well, with some EVs providing both a traditional trunk in the rear and an additional trunk in the front where the engine would traditionally be located.

  • Can I drive my EV while it's raining?

  • You do not have to worry about electrical shock while driving or charging your vehicle while it is wet outside. EVs are perfectly safe in the rain.

  • What does "EVSE", "Kwh" and "OBC" mean?

  • There are a lot of new terms to learn with for EVs. EVSE stands for “Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment” also more commonly referred to as a “Charging Station”. Kwh, or “Kilowatts-Hours,” is a unit of energy equivalent to the energy transferred or expended in one hour by one kilowatt of power. Electric car battery size is measured in kilowatt-hours, so it can be compared as the electric car’s equivalent of gallons of fuel in a gas tank. OBC is the “On Board Charger” (the hose) which is a system which converts the AC input from the grid to a DC input which charges the battery.

Questions About Electric Vehicle Charging:

  • What is the difference between L1, L2 and L3 chargers?

  • Finding the right charger will come down to the capabilities of your electric vehicle and how much driving you plan on doing. L1 chargers are portable, and come free with you EV. Most EV drivers need to have regular access to an L2 charger, whether it’s a home charger, the one at your place of work, or somewhere else. L3 chargers are the most powerful chargers in the industry, and will charge your vehicle in a short amount of time.

  • Where can I charge my EV?

  • There are plenty of places allover Ottawa that offer electric vehicle charging. If you can't charge at home with your L1 portable or L2 charger, consider going to a public charging station. You can find their locations online, or with an App on your mobile device. Public charging stations are often found in high-traffic areas like shopping districts, parking lots & garages, and other highly populated areas.

  • How long does it usually take to charge an EV?

  • That depends on the type of charging station you use, your EV's battery capacity, and how much you drive. Regardless of the type of charging station, the speed at which an EV battery charges is always limited by the maximum amount of power it can handle.

  • Do I need a certain kind of outlet at home to charge my EV?

  • This mostly depends on the type of charger you plan on installing at home. If you use your L1 portable charging cable, then any outlet should work. Though, most who are able to use an L2 will need to have a dedicated circuit in your home to hard-wire it to. Portable models plug into standard 240-volt dryer receptacles (3 or 4 prong outlets meant for heavy-duty appliances).

  • Do I have to pay every time I charge my EV?

  • While many charging stations are free and subsidized by the city or other businesses, most charge a fee which is paid by the electric vehicle owner after charging, much like gas at a gas station. Charging stations can be more expensive than charging at home (which costs whatever your home electricity costs) but charging your EV away from home isn't always as expensive as some people think.

Questions About EV Range:

  • How far can my EV car go?

  • While there are some short-range EVs designed primarily for in-city driving, you can also find EVs that are capable of traveling around 480 kilometers or more on a single charge. Taking an electric vehicle on a long road trip still requires more advanced planning than driving a gas-powered vehicle, but even that is far easier than it was in the past.

  • How do I improve EV range?

  • Just like in your conventional gas-powered vehicle, there are ways that you can improve the range you get out of each charge. Similar to their counterparts, EVs will get more range if you drive smoothly and don't accelerate to hard and fast. Your electric motor adds charge when it slows the car down, so you should enable your car’s maximum regenerative setting. On top of this, keep it light if you are trying to get the most range possible. A a roof rack can affect fuel efficiency in internal combustion vehicles by as much as 25%. This is the same for EVs, so keeping the weight on the lighter side will help you get better range overall.

Questions About EV Performance:

  • Does my EV perform as well as a gas-powered car?

  • They do! While the characteristics of each respective vehicle give you a different experience, they both perform similarly. EVs have extraordinary acceleration, with some EVs hitting 0 to almost 100 kilometers in just two seconds. On the other hand, gas-powered cars still rank higher when it comes to producing top speeds. Right now, most EVs top out at around 320 kilometers per hour while gas-powered vehicles have top speeds around 480 kilometers per hour.

  • How fast does my EV go?

  • It depends on the model. The average top speed of an electric vehicle is 180 kilometers per hour, but some can reach up to 320 kilometers per hour.

Questions About EV Cost:

  • Why are EVs so expensive?

  • EVs come in a variety of different price points, and some are more expensive than others. The main offender is the cost of the batteries that power EVs. EVs are powered by ion-lithium batteries, and lithium is an expensive commodity.

  • Will my car insurance cost more for an EV?

  • Insuring an electric vehicle works the same as insuring any vehicle, and because insurance costs are based primarily on how much it will cost the insurer to repair or replace your vehicle in the case of an accident, EVs typically cost a bit more to insure than gas-powered vehicles.

  • How expensive is it to install an EV charger at my house?

  • L1 chargers come with the purchase of an EV and don't cost anything extra. They use a standard outlet, so there is not additional cost of installation either. I dedicated L2 charger installed by an electrician, and costs will vary. Contact your local electrician to get an estimate.

  • How can I reduce the cost of charging an EV?

  • It's easier than you might think. Charging at home with an L1 or L2 charger is usually less expensive than at a public charging station. Many utilities also have lower electricity rates during the night when demand is lower, which can be especially advantageous for EV owners since that's when charging typically occurs.

  • Can I buy an EV that's Used?

  • Just like gas-powered vehicles, you indeed can purchase Used EVs. Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles by watching this video:

Questions About Cash Incentive & Rebates:

  • How do EV tax credits work?

  • Taking advantage of incentives and rebates can make many electric vehicles very affordable! EV tax credits are available at the federal level, and a number of states also have their own EV tax credits and rebates. Read more about EV Incentives and Tax rebates in the Ottawa area here.

Questions About EV Maintenance & Technology:

  • Do EVs have engines?

  • They do not. Instead of fuel tanks and an internal combustion engine, EVs use rechargeable batteries and have electric motors.

  • Do EVs require special maintenance?

  • Trained EV technicians perform maintenance and repairs. You can find EV technicians at dealerships or an independent repair shop, just like with gasoline powered vehicles. Battery checks twice a year are necessary, but due to the fact that EVs are more simple machines and don't have traditional transmissions or engines, there's less to maintain, break down, and fix.

  • Can I replace my EV battery?

  • While some older EV models cannot have their batteries replaced, electric vehicles don’t typically require battery replacements as today’s batteries can last for hundreds of thousands of kilometers.

  • Does my EV have a transmission?

  • EVs don’t require enormous gasoline engines, transmissions, and many other components you would find in a gas-powered car. Because of this, they are often more spacious inside than their gas-powered counterparts.

Questions About EV Sustainability:

  • Do EVs cause pollution?

  • EVs cause emit no hazardous toxins into the air, like gas-powered vehicles do. For Canadians who decide to buy a car, EVs are the better choice. When transportation is one of the largest sources of GHG emissions, electrifying the vehicles on Canada's roads could be a formidable climate change solution.

  • Can EV batteries be recycled?

  • Once your electric vehicle's battery components are dead (which likely won't happen for at least 10 years) you can indeed recycle it. While not every part of the battery is recyclable, new processes are expected that could push upwards of 90% EV battery recycling, minimizing as much environmental impact as possible.