Mythbusting: On EVs as Luxury Vehicles and Other Flights of Fancy

An insurance professional asks us to stand up and reconsider the many reasons why we should be considering an EV for our next automobile purchase.

By Carter Hammett

With the rapid rise of gasoline costs during the past year, a parallel increased interest in electric vehicles (EVs) has also got people looking at alternatives to traditional gas guzzlers.

EVs account for 8.2 per cent of all new Canadian vehicle registrations according to S&P Global. And yet, and yet. While EV interest continues to trend upwards, many consumers still have an outdated understanding of the current EV market says Tanisha Kishan, RATESDOTCA expert and chartered insurance professional. “The EV industry is moving faster than consumer education is.”

As rising gas prices squeeze drivers’ budgets, it’s natural that people would become interested in vehicles that provide more affordable fuel options like BEVs and PHEVs says Kishan. And, contrary to popular belief, not all EVs are Teslas.
“Tesla may have carved the initial path for EVs in Canada, but many other carmakers are getting into the game. Ford, Kia, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Audi and Nissan are just a few of the carmakers now putting out EVs.
“The Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq, Toyota Prius Prime, Honda Clarity and Mistubishi Outlander are just a few examples of BEVs and PHEVs that are available on the market now,” says Kishan.
That’s just one of several myths concerning EV, she says. There’s many more, including:
Rebates are available for all EV purchases: The federal government does offer rebates for EV purchases, but there are limitations. The vehicles must be new (not previously owned) and must have a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $55,000 or less for passenger vehicles and $60,000 or less for station wagons, pickup trucks, SUVs, minivans, vans or special purpose vehicles.

“EV rebates will vary by province, vehicle and for insurance, by insurer. There isn’t a unified EV rebate policy that will apply to all BEVs and PHEVs,” Kishan says.
You can find more information on federal ZEV eligibility by make and model here: https://tc.canada.ca/en/road-transportation/innovative-technologies/zero-emission-vehicles/light-duty-zero-emission-vehicles/eligible-vehicles

And you can find specific info on provincial incentives here: https://www.caa.ca/sustainability/electric-vehicles/government-incentives/

EVs are luxury vehicles: Until relatively recently, the EVs available on the market were luxury vehicles and were priced accordingly, making them prohibitively expensive to many. However auto manufacturers are now releasing more affordable EV models..
“The Chevrolet Bolt (BEV) is available for approximately $38K, the Hyundai Ioniq (BEV) for approximately $44K, Toyota Prius (PHEV) for approximately $29K and the Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV) for approximately $32K are all examples of BEVs and PHEVs that are available for significantly less than a Tesla Model 3 that comes in at approximately $61K.“
EV auto insurance is more expensive than for gas-powered vehicles: A major factor in calculating auto insurance premiums is the price of replacing the vehicle and vehicle parts. Historically, EVs have had more expensive parts and sometimes only specialized mechanics can work on them, which drives up the cost of insurance. As the price of EV parts go down and the number of mechanics trained to work on EVs increases, insurance premiums could decline. Insurance for some EVs are already comparable to gas-powered cars of equivalent value. According to data from RATESDOTCA’s online quoter, in Toronto the average insurance premium for a Nissan Leaf is $2,561, compared to the Chevrolet Cruz at $2,598 and the Honda Civic at $2,722.*
EVs can only travel short distances: When EVs were initially introduced, the short drive times between charges were a major deterrent for consumers worried about travelling long distances. Now many EVs can drive up to 640km on a single charge.

“As EVs and EV infrastructure become more available, we will likely see an increase in EV use across the country. Contrary to popular belief, EV insurance rates are comparable to those of gas-powered vehicles. It’s in a driver’s best interests to shop around for EV insurance if they purchase a ZEV.”

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Drivers can compare quotes for EV insurance in different provinces and postal codes using our online insurance quoter: https://rates.ca/insurance-quotes/auto?cta=RgkVWM

You can check out some EV insurance premium prices and estimated annual fuel costs here: https://rates.ca/resources/how-much-car-insurance-electric-vehicle-ontario-and-alberta

*Prices based on a 30-year-old female driver with 10 years of driving experience and a claims-free and conviction-free insurance history.

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