Cutting down on carbon emissions is an important issue on Ontario’s environmental agenda, and electric vehicles are considered as a great long-term solution.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining popularity, with 5,400 EVs registered in Ontario to date, according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Though public transportation, biking, and walking are the most sustainable forms of travel, people who choose to drive are being offered a green alternative that has great perks.

The initial cost for an electric vehicle can be daunting, ranging from the Fortwo Electric Drive at $26,990 to the BMW i8 at $150,000. The top selling electric car in Canada is the Tesla Model S, which costs $107,000.

Fortunately, Ontario provides an incentive to help people purchase these pricey vehicles. Up to a $8,500 rebate is provided to customers that have a qualifiable EV. The MTO provides a list of battery electric cars and plug-in Hybrid cars that are applicable for the rebate on their website.

Furthermore, the province is providing up to $1000 in rebates for a home-powered charging stations. An approved EV motorist will also receive a green plate that allows them to travel in HOV lanes as an added bonus.

There are currently two types of EVs  offered in Canada; battery electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric cars. Battery electric cars are powered 100 per cent by electricity. They have large battery packs that need to be charged at various charging stations. Plug-in hybrid electric cars are also charged by being plugged in but have smaller battery packs for shorter electric drives. A gas engine or generator will start to run on longer trips when the electric battery runs out.

Though EVs can be pricey initially, they are have great long-term cost savings because electricity is much cheaper than fuel. Emissions are relative to the specific EV that is purchased and Plug N’ Drive, a not-for-profit organization committed to accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles, provides a cost comparison chart that shows how much carbon each vehicle would produce and what the equates to in dollar form. For example, the Tesla Model S creates  1.9 kg of carbon per 100 km, which costs $3.14. Comparatively, if the Tesla was a full gas vehicle, it would create 17.8 kg of carbon per 100 km and cost $9.86.

Electric cars also need less overall maintenance. “Electric cars use an electric motor, a durable technology with one moving part. In addition, electric cars don’t require oil changes, coolant flushes, mufflers or exhaust systems,” the Plug N’ Drive explains. “Bottom line… less money spent on maintenance means more money in your pocket.”

Currently, transportation is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the province. GHGs account for more carbon emissions than iron, steel, cement, and chemical industries combined.

Ontario is embracing the revolution of the electric car as a part of their new Green Investment Fund. Ever since the climate change conference in 2015, protecting the environment has become a priority for the country. The province has invested $20 million into building EV charging stations across Ontario.

“Ontario’s new Green Investment Fund offers exciting opportunities to revolutionize how we live, work, move and play as we fight climate change,” Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen R. Murray, said in a statement. “This initial investment is just the start of many more bold steps we’ll be taking to promote electric cars as a sustainable transportation choice and to reduce greenhouse gas pollution in other sectors.”


Kaeleigh Phillips is Women's Post sustainability coordinator. She specializes in writing about issues relating to the environment, including renewable energy, cycling, and vegan recipes!