Electric vehicles remain a curiosity for many motorists. And, while industry experts predict that all cars on the road will be electric at some point in the future, gas-powered vehicles still outnumber electric cars by a wide margin.

Some drivers may be hesitant to purchase electric cars for a fear of the unknown. That’s understandable considering the cost of new vehicles, electric or gas-powered. According to analysts at J.D. Power, in 2019 the average new-vehicle transaction price in Canada was $35,400. That makes buying a new vehicle a significant financial cost and perhaps explains why consumers have thus far been hesitant to embrace electric cars en masse.

However, the benefits of electric cars are many, and with an increasing range of models and price points available, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) suggests that buying an electric vehicle has never been easier. Right now, there are over 45 Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) available in Canada. Understanding just what the benefits are to these vehicles might compel more drivers to make the leap.

Cost savings:  There’s no denying that purchase prices for electric and hybrid vehicles are higher than more conventional, gas-powered vehicles. However, many countries offer tax credits for buyers. In 2019, Transport Canada implemented the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program. Canadians who purchase new electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids are eligible for an incentive of $2,500 to $5,000. In addition, fuel costs for hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles are low, which can help offset the high purchase price of such automobiles.

Electric vehicles (EV) use less (or no) fuel and benefit from lower maintenance and operating costs. You can charge your EV at home, at work, or at public charging stations. EV owners can also take advantage of lower electricity rates when charging at off-peak times. According to Hydro One, the average Canadian driver, travelling about 20,000 kilometres a year, can save up to $2,500 annually on fuel and maintenance. Electric motors are more sophisticated and durable than internal combustion engines because they have only one moving part, so they don’t need oil changes, coolant flushes, mufflers or exhaust systems to keep running optimally.

Reduce your footprint: EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions. That’s a substantial benefit, as common tailpipe emissions include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, benzene, and carbon dioxide. Such pollutants can lead to further depletion of the ozone and some, such as benzene, are known carcinogens. Hydro One claims that you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% by driving an electric vehicle.

In Ontario, EVs are also eligible for green vehicle licence plates. These plates allow you to drive in all provincial high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes even with only one person in the vehicle.

Electric vehicles have yet to catch on a wide scale. However, the overwhelming benefits of such cars and trucks makes it extremely likely that they are the future of driving for those motorists who have thus far been hesitant to ditch their gas-powered automobiles.