British Columbia

Myths about electric vehicles scaring off buyers, says BC Hydro

A new report from BC Hydro finds many B.C. residents are interested in buying an electric vehicle but still believe 'myths' the cars are too expensive or have limited range.

Many people still believe electric vehicles are too expensive and have limited range

In 2016, GM released the Chevy Bolt, an electric vehicle with a range of nearly 400 kilometres. (General Motors)

A new report from BC Hydro finds many B.C. residents are interested in electric vehicles but many still believe "myths" the cars are too expensive, have limited range and not enough charging stations available.

The study, based on a survey conducted for BC Hydro last year, disputes those concepts, instead finding that, over the long term, some electric vehicles are less expensive than comparable gas-powered cars and have plenty of range and charging options for most uses.

Hydro says a key reason electric vehicles are cheaper is because B.C. has one of the lowest electricity rates in North America, That means electric car owners can save as much as $1,400 annually on fuel.

The study also noted the majority of vehicle trips are under 30 kilometres, and there are seven fully electric vehicle models for sale in B.C., with a battery range of at least 150 kilometres that are less than $40,000 after a provincial rebate.

"B.C. is one of only three Canadian provinces to offer rebates for the purchase of an electric vehicle. Rebates of up to $5,000 are available for battery electric vehicles, and up to $2,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

When combined with SCRAP-IT program incentives, total savings on the purchase of a battery electric vehicle could be up to $11,000," said the report.

More affordable electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and others by Chevrolet and Volkswagen are designed to entice entry-level buyers. (The Associated Press)

When it came to charging stations almost 90 per cent of those surveyed said there was not an electrical vehicle charging station available at their home or residential complex, even though a standard 120-volt household outlet can be used for vehicle charging.

The report also highlighted BC Hydro's efforts to increase the number of charging stations in B.C.

"There are currently more than 1,000 charging stations – including 30 fast charging stations, with 26 additional stations planned to be added this year," it said.

Earlier this year, the B.C. government also announced three new rebates for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle chargers at homes, residential complexes and workplaces.

The survey of 800 adult B.C. residents was conducted by NRG Research for BC Hydro in April 2017.

With files from The Canadian Press