The Electric Vehicle Renaissance Has Begun

Posted: March 28, 2017
Tagged As: Climate Change, Electric Vehicles, Fleet Management, GHG Emissions

Times have certainly changed since the first electric vehicles (EVs) were operating in the streets of cities and towns over a century ago. Once fettered by high costs, low speeds, and short distance ranges due to limited breakthroughs in battery-powered storage capacity, there is now a renewal of interest in EVs as perceived barriers of cost, technology, and required charging infrastructure have all been overcome. Ever-increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from vehicles powered by internal combustions engines have also helped push auto manufacturers, governments and consumers to consider the economic and environmental benefits that EVs offer.

Government Incentives are Available

The Government of Ontario has jumped on board the shift to EVs. On June 8, 2016, the Province released its Climate Change Action Plan outlining actions the government intends to take over the next five years to reduce GHG emissions and transition towards a low carbon economy. Part of this work is to make Ontario a North American leader in low carbon and zero emission transportation. Currently, about 11 million passenger and commercial vehicles regularly commute and travel across Ontario’s roads contributing to more than one third of Ontario’s GHG emissions. Ontario’s growing population complemented by increasing vehicle ownership will exacerbate vehicle emissions levels if current trends continue.
The Province has established policies and aggressive targets that aim at vehicle emission reductions including introducing a renewable fuel standard and an electric vehicle and hydrogen passenger vehicle sales target of 5% by 2020. We have a long way to go in a short period o before reaching that 5% threshold, but to increase EV purchasing there are provincial incentives to help us on the road. 
The Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (EVIP) and Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program (EVCIP) offered through the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) support the adoption of EVs and necessary charging infrastructure required to power EVs.  EVIP provides incentives of $6,000 to $14,000 to support the purchase or lease of eligible EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. EVCIP provides up to $1,000 to EVIP recipients toward the purchase and installation of fast charging equipment for households and/or the workplace.

Other actions the Province is undertaking as part of the Climate Change Action Plan to increase EV uptake include:
  • Eliminating the HST on zero emission vehicles
  • Replacing older vehicles by offering a rebate to low and moderate income households to help make the switch to a low carbon vehicle
  • Offering free overnight vehicle charging over four years beginning in 2017
  • Deploying charging infrastructure widely across Ontario
  • Bolstering public awareness about the benefits of EV technology
Municipalities are also actively moving towards greening their vehicle fleets to reduce emissions and save money. Municipalities are eligible to apply to EVIP for up to 25 incentives for fleets per calendar year.  Past funding was also available to municipalities that purchase and install a new eligible electric vehicle charging station for business/fleet use through MTO’s Electric Vehicle Chargers Ontario (EVCO) grant program. Municipal uptake in the program has been good. Approximately 12 municipalities have built EV charging infrastructure in their jurisdictions. Other private partners have also received funding and are contributing to building EV charging infrastructure throughout the province. Additional rounds of the EVCO grant program are anticipated in the future.

LAS’ Fleet Management Service

The table below details approximate annual energy costs in Ontario based on travel of 20,000km per year for a hybrid and EV in comparison to a similar type of gasoline, internal combustion engine vehicle. Once incentives are accounted for, the cost of owning an EV is as affordable as purchasing a comparable gasoline powered vehicle. Factoring in that EVs are energy efficient, use less (or no) fuel, and benefit from lower maintenance and operating costs, the benefits of EV ownership could save you money while doing your part to reduce Ontario’s transportation emissions.

Table 1 – Vehicle Comparison[1]
Vehicle Vehicle Purchase Cost ($)[2] Energy Cost/100 km ($) Energy Cost/Month ($) Type of Vehicle GHG emissions per 100 km
Typical Full-size Gasoline $24,970 $9.68 $164 Internal Combustion 17.8kg CO2e
Chevy Volt $38,490 $3.26 $54 Plug-in Hybrid Electric 3.4kg CO2e
Nissan Leaf $32,698 $2.63 $44 Battery Electric 1.5kg CO2e
As a municipal manager, how can you fully benefit from all of the incentives that are available? Do EVs make sense for your municipal fleet? Your friends at LAS have you covered. With our partner provider FleetCarma, we are leading the charge towards transitioning to EVs by offering a service that is unavailable elsewhere in Canada. Using an innovative telematics system, our Fleet Management Service can help you assess if a vehicle in your fleet is suitable for a replacement EV or a hybrid EV based on that vehicle’s usage patterns. The data that is generated provides you with solid ground to make the case to convert or partially convert your vehicles to EVs or hybrid EVs and potentially reduce your fleet’s operating costs. If you decide that making the switch to an EV is appropriate for your fleet, you should also consider making the best use of the provincial incentives that are available to you. Contact MTO through the links provided in this posting for more information on the provincial incentive programs. And as always, LAS staff are available to help you better understand the benefits of using our Fleet Management Service.
[2] Vehicle purchase cost based on a MSRP for the following: a 2017 Toyota Camry, a 2017 Chevrolet Volt, and a 2016 Nissan Leaf. Hybrid and electric vehicle price does not include provincial Electric Vehicle Incentive Program rebate. All prices are entry level.

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