September 25, 2023

What You Should Know About Electric Vehicles

Switching to an electric vehicle can help you save money over time. Learn if an electric vehicle is right for you!

What You Should Know About Electric Vehicles

Switching to an electric vehicle can help you save money over time. Learn if an electric vehicle is right for you!

One look at gas prices is all it takes to start strongly considering electric vehicles (EV). They've come a long way since the dawn of the modern-day electric car, and it’s becoming more and more common to spot them and their charging stations when out and about.  

With growing popularity and federal incentives to sweeten the deal, you may be considering what electric might be like for you.  The cities of Calgary and Edmonton are helping Albertans adopt EV’s with municipal strategies and accessible information. As an Albertan driver, or even perhaps a business owner, we’ll look at some of the benefits and things to consider when deciding if EV is right for you.  

The art of multi-tasking

The average car owner loses about 16 hours of precious time while filling up their gas tanks every five years!  

That’s potentially hundreds of hours over your lifetime. Gas vehicles require a lot of time single tasking, unless you count holding the gas nozzle while gawking at the pump as the numbers climb as a task...

When you charge your EV overnight, you’re freed from the pump so you can refuel other parts of your life. Last we checked, no one has ever woken up to find their traditional gas engine vehicle refueled and ready to go each morning. Based on average commute times here in Alberta, you could charge your vehicle in as little as two hours!  

Stay warm with less

EVs are incredibly fast to warm up and you won’t be polluting and wasting gas in order to make your ride nice and toasty. Without oil to worry about, you also won’t have to stress about getting your ride started, regardless of how cold it gets outside!

On average, Internal Combustion Engine loses 60% of its fuel efficiency to heat and friction. That means it requires significantly more energy to travel the same distance as an EV. Alberta’s electric power is currently generated from a variety of sources. As renewable energy in electric generation increases, these source percentages will change.

Your dollars make sense

When we look specifically at the lot price of EV’s, it’s easy to make the assumption that these vehicles aren’t accessible to the average car owner. However, those prices don’t take into account the numerous rebates available.  

Once the rebates are attributed to the purchase price, you are already in the black! From there, we add in the ongoing maintenance and energy savings, and it’s clear to see that an EV is not only the more ethical and efficient choice, but also the most cost effective!

Let’s compare the annual cost of charging a Tesla to the Honda Civic’s gas mileage. The average Tesla driver will spend $402/year on electricity, whereas the average Honda Civic driver will spend $1757/year on fuel. That’s more than 4 times the cost of our EV driver!

Road trip approved!

Companies like Peaks to Prairies are making it their mission to create an EV-friendly life for us. Currently installing charging stations across Southern Alberta, they contribute to a mass network of plug-in areas that can all be located at PlugShare.

Not only are EV charging stations popping up all over the province, BUT personal EV charging stations can ALSO be installed where you need it most — at home! Companies like Rümi will help you have a charging station installed at your house, so you can charge your EV overnight!  

Attract your customers

As local business owners know, creating a welcoming, thoughtful, and efficient experience for customers is the key to success. As EV’s grow in popularity, more shops are adding EV charging stations for their customers to use while shopping.  

Standing out in the cold filling your tank kind of stinks. And watching an EV driver plug in and head over to the local diner to catch up with friends while you watch the dollars rapidly scroll up, yet the litres display seems to hardly budge... Well, that certainly highlights another EV victory.

Connect with a friendly Rümineer to find out how you can have an EV charging station installed at your home, business, or managed properties!

Imagine never spending another minute at the pump, and instead recharging when you aren’t using your car. Whether it’s during work hours, while you’re sleeping, or out to brunch with friends, your EV can charge when it’s most convenient for you! So, even if you only sort of love the planet, EV’s offer a laundry list of reasons to make the switch.  

Electric Vehicle FAQs

What is my overall cost going to be if I buy an EV?

The overall cost of owning an EV can vary greatly based on the make and model, available incentives, and your personal driving habits. While the upfront cost of an EV can be higher than a gas-powered car, you’ll likely experience lower ongoing costs in the long run.  

Electricity is typically cheaper than gasoline, and EVs often require less maintenance, which can save you money over time. The Government of Canada occasionally offers incentive programs, such as up to $5,000 for people buying or leasing EVs for $55,000 or less, to encourage people to purchase electric vehicles and install EV chargers for their homes. Learn more about the incentives and find out if you’re eligible here.

What types of EV charging stations are available?

There are primarily three types of electric vehicle (EV) charging options available:

  • Level 1 Charger (120 volts): This is the slowest type of charging and typically uses a standard household outlet. It’s ideal for overnight charging or for vehicles that aren’t driven much. On average, Level 1 chargers provide about 5 miles of range per hour of charging.
  • Level 2 Charger (240 volts): This type of charging is faster than Level 1 and requires a specialized charging station. Many homes with EVs install Level 2 chargers, and they are also commonly found at public charging stations. Level 2 chargers can typically provide about 25 miles of range per hour of charging.
  • DC Fast Charger: Also known as Level 3 charger, the DC Fast Charger provides the quickest charge and is often found along highways or in commercial settings. These chargers can provide up to 100 miles of range in just 30 minutes of charging. However, not all EVs are compatible with DC Fast Chargers.

Our neighbours at Rümi specialize in EV charger installations. They can assist you in setting up your own Level 2 charging stations at home.

Are public charging stations free?

Alberta is home to over 200 public charging stations strategically positioned across the province, and this number continues to grow. Public charging stations are available at various locations, including shopping centres, parking lots, and along highways. This impressive number doesn’t even account for the numerous private installations available at businesses, hotels, and other establishments.

While there are instances of free charging stations, particularly those provided by certain businesses or municipalities, many public charging stations in Alberta operate on a pay-per-use basis. Users typically pay for the electricity they use during a charging session. The cost may be determined by factors like charging speed, time connected to the charger, or a combination of both.

What do I have to consider when installing an EV charger at my house, condo, or apartment?

Installing a charging station at your home can be a convenient way to charge your EV. If you live in a single-family home, you can typically install a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station in your garage or driveway. This involves hiring an electrician to set up the necessary electrical connections.

However, if you’re living in a condo, apartment, or rented property, it may require coordination with your property manager or landlord. Some condos and apartments are starting to offer EV charging infrastructure, but it’s essential to check with your building management to see if it’s available.  

How much electricity does it take to fully charge an EV?

The number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) required to fully charge your electric vehicle depends on the battery capacity of your EV and the state of charge (SOC) when you start charging. Here's how you can calculate it:

  • Total Battery Capacity (kWh): This is the total capacity of your EV’s battery when it’s at 100% charge. You can find this information in your vehicle’s specifications or owner’s manual. Different EV models have varying battery sizes, typically ranging from 20 kWh to over 100 kWh.
  • Current State of Charge (SOC) (kWh): The SOC is the amount of charge remaining in your battery at the moment you start charging. You can typically check the SOC on your EV’s dashboard or through the vehicle’s app.

Once you have these two values, subtract the current SOC from the total battery capacity to find the kWh required to fully charge your EV.

For example, if your EV has an 80 kWh battery capacity and the SOC is currently at 30 kWh, you will need (80 kWh - 30 kWh) = 50 kWh of electricity to fully charge your EV from its current state of charge to 100%.

How fast your electric car charges depends on its battery size, charging technology, and the time of year. It might be best to consult your vehicle’s manual for specific charging information.

How will Alberta’s winter affect my EV?

Alberta’s cold winters can impact EVs in several ways. Cold temperatures can reduce battery efficiency, resulting in slower charging times and shorter range. For example, you may charge your car up to 500 km but if the weather is extremely cold, it may reduce your battery and drive range by up to 30% or more, depending on the temperature. However, modern EVs have thermal management systems to mitigate these effects.  

With proper planning and precautions, it’s very possible to continue using your EV effectively throughout the colder months. Charging regularly, using preconditioning, and taking steps to maintain battery health are key to optimizing your EV’s performance in winter.

How does an EV affect my home energy usage?

When you plug in your EV for a charge, it’s much like adding another electrical appliance to your home. The impact on your home energy bill will depend on how often you charge your EV and the rates charged by your energy provider.

At ATCOenergy, we provide competitive rates, different types of plans, flexible payment options and several term lengths. We also offer green energy plans where you can select to have 25-100% of your energy come from renewable resources. If you’re ready to make the switch to an EV and embrace a greener lifestyle, consider exploring our energy plans.