3 reasons to get charged up on electric vehicles
October 8, 2019
Updated December 10, 2021
Did you ever think that one day, you would plug your car into a wall overnight to get power?
Our manager of innovative initiatives, Michael Leyland, certainly didn’t until recently when he felt the surge to get his own electric vehicle (EV).
Surprisingly, EVs aren’t a new invention. The first four-wheel EV was actually developed in the late 1800s, after many milestones including the discovery of electricity itself. Today, electric vehicles are a staple choice for passenger transportation in BC with a number of benefits over their gasoline-powered counterparts. Benefits that have jolted Michael rather quickly.
I'm saving over $2,000 in annual fuel costs compared to my old gas vehicle!
If you’re on the fence about ditching the gas pump for the wall socket, consider our top three Es for owning an EV.
1. Environmental benefits of EVs
Electric vehicles are a clean energy choice in transportation and help advance provincial climate action goals.
Compared to gasoline or diesel counterparts, driving an EV is virtually emission free, meaning it can help reduce the impact of climate change. Even accounting for manufacturing, including batteries, an EV in BC will only produce about 25 per cent of the emissions that a gas vehicle would over its lifetime.1
2. Economical and low carbon savings
It’s more affordable to plug in your car than to fuel up at the pumps.
While cost varies based on how much you drive, EVs can cost as little as $2-4 for every 100km you drive, according to Plug In BC.
At FortisBC, we’re trying to help.
We've recently received British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) approval for permanent rates of our Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) stations, with rates of $0.26 per minute for 50 kW chargers, and $0.54 per minute for 100 kW chargers. For a typical compact EV, the ability to travel an estimated 140 kilometres would cost $7.80.
By comparison, the average gas vehicle would cost around $18.63 to fill up enough to travel that same distance. This calculation is based on a cost of gas of $1.35 per litre, but gas has risen higher than $1.70 per litre in BC in 2021.
“My EV has been much cheaper to operate,” shared Michael. “But here’s something else I’ve noted. Operating costs for a battery are minimal compared to a gasoline engine – no more oil changes and I have a full “tank” every morning after a few hours of charging overnight in my garage.”
Speaking of charging at home, if you want to plug in your electric vehicle when you get home from work so it’s ready to go in the morning, we can help make that easier too.
We’re pleased to be administering the provincial government’s CleanBC EV Charger Rebate Program for our electricity customers. Homeowners can qualify for up to a $350 rebate to install a charging station in a single-family home2 and up to a $2,000 rebate for stations in locations such as condominiums, apartments and workplaces3. There is also an additional top-up available for City of Kelowna applicants for condominiums and apartments.
3. Ease of electric vehicles
A growing number of electric vehicle charge stations at key locations means you can travel with confidence.
To support the switch to EVs, organizations like FortisBC and all levels of government have increased investment in charging stations. We are further enhancing our system with support from Natural Resources Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) and the Province’s CleanBC Go Electric program by installing five 100 kilowatt (kW) stations in Osoyoos, Rock Creek, Greenwood, Christina Lake, and Castlegar by the end of 2021. These stations mean that local drivers, and those passing through these popular road trip destinations, can travel these areas with confidence.
Worried about how far you can travel in an EV? Don’t be.
FortisBC has deployed over 30 fast charging sites in virtually every community in its electric service territory, ensuring drivers always have access to reliable highway-grade charging infrastructure. Add that to the fact that most electric vehicles have a range of 300-600km per charge and you can really cover some ground when driving.4
“Investments in charging infrastructure are critical to supporting drivers considering the transition,” explained Michael as he put his proverbial FortisBC hat back on.
“We need this infrastructure in place in key locations to ensure drivers are supported for long drives. That’s why FortisBC is committed to building more charging stations in key locations, such as close to highways.”
With 40 fast-charge stations in place at 22 different locations by the end of the year, we want to ensure EV drivers can travel with confidence across our electric service territory.
In the meantime, all you really need is an outlet and access to electricity, and that could be at work or at home.
“I just plug in my car in the garage when I get home from work and it’s ready to go when I leave in the morning. No more having to stop every week at the gas station and spend $60 - $80 on fuel. The cost to charge at home is $10-$20 a week now for me, which is pretty awesome.”
Ready to make the transition to low carbon transportation?
Supporting customers who are choosing cleaner options for transportation is one of the ways FortisBC is helping reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and tackle climate change in our province.
But EVs are just a part of it – we’re committed to reducing emissions in commercial transportation as well. FortisBC has provided incentive funding to over 1000 compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles which include public transit buses, trucks and waste haulers, and nine marine vessels for cleaner natural gas fueling. As of December 7, 2021 there are 19 operational CNG and LNG fueling stations around BC with two additional stations to open in 2022. Finding ways to reduce emissions from the transportation sector is a key part of our 30BY30 target – our aim to reduce our customers’ GHG emissions by 30 per cent overall by the year 2030.
So get charged up about electric vehicles. It’s an opportunity for each of us to personally make a positive contribution to climate action, and go easy on our wallets while we do it.
2 Terms and conditions apply: https://www.fortisbc.com/rebates/home/ev-charging-stations-for-homes
3 Terms and conditions apply: https://www.fortisbc.com/rebates/business/ev-charging-solutions-for-multi-unit-residential-buildings-and-workplaces
4 Source: Plug In BC Electric Vehicles 101 (Getting where you’re going) https://pluginbc.ca/ev101/