THE ELECTRIC CAR IN 5 QUESTIONS

To know the electric car models available in Quebec, you can consult the website of the Association of Electric Vehicles of Quebec (AVÉQ) or the Institute of Innovative Vehicle (IVI).

HOW DOES CHARGING WORK?

Charging is done mostly at home and at work (90%). We usually leave the house with the battery recharged to the maximum of its capacity. More and more employers are offering free recharging to their employees, allowing electric motorists to travel greater distances every day with their electric vehicle.

Charging can also be done while traveling thanks to a network of public terminals, either when shopping or at leisure or when traveling longer distances thanks to a network of public charging stations located along the way. main highways. To plan your trip and know the location and availability of charging stations, there are various applications that display, in real time, the use of the network. The Plugshare and Charge Hub applications are just a few examples.

 

Level 1 refill – 120 V

All vehicles are equipped with a portable 120V charger that can be plugged into any wall outlet. Although it is widely accessible, this type of charging is mainly used for troubleshooting during visits or for the smaller batteries of plug-in hybrid vehicles (20 to 40 km autonomy) since the complete recharge can take up to 34 hours . This type of charging is done at an average speed of 6 km of autonomy/charging time.

Level 2 Recharge – 240 V

Level 2 240V charging is 4 to 5 times faster than Level 1 charging (about 30 to 40 km of range/charging time). She often settles at home with the help of an electrician and usually without modification to the power supply of the house. The Québec government is offering a subsidy of up to $ 600 for the purchase and installation of home charging stations. It is also found on public charging networks, municipal sites, some merchants and employers.

Level 3 refill – 400 V

Also known as DCBs, they are generally part of a large network of public terminals, the Hydro-Québec Electric Circuit. They are said to be fast because they make it possible to gain on average 200 km of autonomy/hour of recharging. These terminals are mainly used for longer trips and are located mainly along the main highways.

Condominium refill

If you live in a condo, it is still possible to install a charging station at your home. However, you must obtain the authorization of the board of directors. To get a clear picture of the situation, it is best to consult a master electrician. It will be able to determine if it is possible to connect the parking lots to the electricity meters by an electric cable. However, the best solution remains the installation of a charge controller for an electric vehicle since it allows electricity to be charged directly to the Hydro-Québec account of the co-owner (s). In order to choose the most appropriate option, consult a charging expert or an electrician.

DOES THE ELECTRIC CAR REALLY COST MORE THAN A GAS CAR?

It is true that the price of buying an electric car is often higher than that of a gas car. However, we must not forget the government purchase rebates , which amount to $ 8,000 for a new car and $ 4,000 for a used car. In addition, if the cost of using the vehicle is considered, the electric car is much more economical: no gas to buy, low maintenance costs and insurance much cheaper! For a Quebecer who travels an average of 20,000 km per year, the additional cost of purchase will be absorbed within one to three years, after which he will save nearly $ 2,500 a year. And that’s not all. You could save even more by buying a used electric car, on which the depreciation is already depreciated.

Savings in maintenance and insurance

The saving on the maintenance of the electric vehicle only takes into account the absence of oil change and the reduced need for brake maintenance. For the purposes of this comparison, the cost of oil changes at $ 60, twice a year, is estimated for the gasoline vehicle. Brake maintenance costs are estimated at $ 500 / 120,000 km for the electric vehicle and $ 500 / 50,000 km for the gasoline car. The savings on insurance is based on the 20% discount offered by many insurers to electric vehicle owners. Consult your insurance company for more details. In addition, by owning an electric car, it is possible to benefit from the benefits of the green plate: free access for certain toll roads and ferries, free parking or VIP space in certain municipalities and some employers and access to certain reserved lanes. There are now more than thirty models of top electric cars and plug-in hybrids available on the Quebec market. There’s something for everyone: whether you’re looking for a sub-compact, a sedan, a family car or even a SUV! To make sure you choose the model that’s right for you, you must first identify your travel needs. To do this, you must add up your daily trips (work, daycare, school), frequent trips (stops en route) and a margin for winter driving and small unforeseen events. The electric car loses an average of 20 to 30% of its autonomy in winter, but in cold weather, it can go up to 50%. Do not worry, the average temperature in winter is -10 degrees only! Quebec motorists travel between 20 and 50 kilometers on average per day to get to work, while the current range of electric vehicles ranges from 150 to 350 km. This is an autonomy that is big enough to handle most daily trips.

If your occasional trips (4 times a month) involve long distance trips that exceed the range of an electric vehicle, it remains important to check the availability of fast charging stations along your route and on your arrival at destination. It is also necessary to estimate the average time necessary for the recharging of your vehicle. For exceptional trips (once or twice a year), there are several other options: using the second car in the household, borrowing a vehicle from a friend or a family member, car-sharing or renting a vehicle. The overvaluation of needs has an impact on the choice of the model, the cost of the vehicle but also on the environmental impact.

IS THE ELECTRIC CAR A GREENER CHOICE THAN THE GAS CAR?

There is often concern about the environmental impacts of battery manufacturing for electric vehicles, while ultimately they are less important than those related to fuel consumption.  The environmental investment of the electric car is profitable with the rolled mileage: the more it is used, the less will be its environmental impact compared to the gasoline car. According to the environmental parameters measured, the electric car becomes more environmentally advantageous than the gasoline car after 30,000 to 65,000 km rolled.

However, over the entire life cycle that is from the extraction of raw materials to the recycling of the vehicle the electric car is a more environmentally friendly choice than the gas car. It emits 80% less GHG over 300,000 km than the gasoline vehicle in a context of Quebec recharge and whose energy mix is dominated 98.5% by hydroelectricity (CIRAIG 2016). On the other hand, when this same bouquet is dominated by fossil fuels, as is the case in China and some provinces of Canada (Nunavut, Nova Scotia), the electric vehicle is more polluting because the electricity produced comes from coal or oil. In contrast, the electric vehicle becomes more advantageous than the gasoline vehicle when the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix is below 50%. Hydro-Québec estimates that the current Québec electricity grid could supply an additional one million electric cars, without requiring major improvements to the network. In fact, this million electric vehicles represents only the equivalent of 2% of the electricity consumed in Quebec in 2015! In the near future, it is even expected that the generalization of the electric car will motivate the introduction of “smart grid” technologies, the “decentralized intelligent management” of the electrical circuit. Connected most of the time to the residence or work, the electric car could allow to feed the network punctually with a bidirectional connection, thus making it possible to reduce the electric demand during periods of high consumption or to sell energy to the leading supplier thus reducing the energy bill for electric car owners.

The batteries

Batteries have an indicated warranty of 8 to 10 years (or 160,000 km) depending on the manufacturer. The latter, after about 150 000 km (10 years and more) keep 80% of their capacity, enough energy to cover the average travel of a Quebecer. It can then be: Used to store the energy needed to power our homes and institutions; Refurbishment for use of new batteries or other applications; Recycled, which allows recovering the materials for the manufacture of other products, or even new batteries. Some dealers offer end-of-life and/or reconditioning battery recovery services to renew the range of electric vehicles.  Generally, at the end of life, the electric vehicle user has the choice to refer first to their car dealer or to the Association of Recyclers of Auto Parts and Trucks in Quebec (ARPAC). In most cases, the batteries will be sent to manufacturers who will dispose of batteries in the best way. As for other industrial sectors, the issue of recycling remains critical in a perspective of sustainable development. To make the transition to the electrification of transport acceptable, it is essential to minimize the impacts associated with the extraction of minerals in the manufacturing process and to strive as much as possible for a circular economy in the manufacture of electric vehicles. The high value of the materials used, and their geostrategic importance in some cases will inevitably motivate the improvement of legislation and the improvement of recycling processes. Compared to just ten years ago, we have a lot more choices when it comes to buying an electric car. Short-range electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 have been around for years, and long-range electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model S, are starting to hit the market.

Electric vehicles continue to represent a small percentage of global sales – only about 1% – but others are coming in, so that number is expected to improve over time. Unfortunately, much of the analysis of EV potential tends to group them together, ignoring some of the obvious dynamics of the auto market. On average, running an electric vehicle is 50% more profitable than running a car on gasoline. There is really no debate about this, and this simple fact has recently been confirmed in a University of Michigan study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle . Another rule of thumb that develops around EVs is that, although the initial cost of purchasing a vehicle is higher than what is necessary to purchase a comparable gasoline-powered car, a turning point usually occurs at about 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers). At this point, the EV owner has recovered the initial cost and will see lower operational costs for the rest of the vehicle’s life. I should point out that the cost of ownership analysis must be considered somewhat unpredictable today, mainly because we know how much it costs to maintain a gas car, but we do not know how much it will cost to replace batteries on aging electric vehicles.