The Costs of Going Green: Electric Vehicles

EV cars

When it comes to reducing emissions and eliminating plastics we often hear about taxes and just how expensive solutions are. 

Is it possible to go green without breaking the bank? 

Turns out going green could actually save you some money - you might just have to pay more upfront and wait a year or two to really see the benefits. 

An electric vehicle is a perfect example. The city says transportation accounts for more than half of Kelowna's greenhouse gas emissions. You might have to put a couple thousand dollars more upfront, but you can reduce your emissions and save a lot on the price of gas. 

Mary Anne Coules, communications for BC Hydro, broke down the mileage cost. "In this circumstance we're looking at a Nissan Leaf and you're looking around $400 a year, or $33 a month, in electricity costs. In an equivalent gas powered vehicle you're looking at $1,848, or $150 a month, on gas."

She says annual maintenance typically costs a lot less too, about one hundred dollars a month difference. "Basic things like you don't need to change your oil in a electric vehcile, so that's something you're no longer paying for." And the car battery is expected to last at least five years. 

But buying an electric vehicle means you need somewhere to charge it. Coules says you can use a standard household outlet or opt to get a Level 2 charger installed. "The cost to install that varies greatly due to a variety of factors, including the need for any electrical upgrades. Generally you're looking at around $700 to $2,000. There's also public charging infrastructure across the province for people who can't charge at home, and that number is continuing to grow. Right now there's more than 2,500 public charging stations across the province."

Tourism Kelowna lists more than 20 charging stations in and around the city, so no shortage of places to charge up. 

Still not convinced an electric vehicle is for you? Maybe a plug-in hybrid is worth taking a look at. 

"They're often cheaper and cleaner to run than traditional hybrid vehicles. You still need some gas, but far less frequently," Coules said. "There are some plug-in hybrid vehicle options under the $30,000 mark, however, there's still some maintenance and gas costs that you'll have to consider."

Or opt for even less expensive green transportation and buy an electric scooter or bicycle. 

The government might even help you make the switch to a greener vehicle. 

Learn more about government incentives for sustainable living later this week in the series "The Costs of Going Green"