With electric vehicle charging infrastructures growing, including DC fast charging that takes minutes on the charger instead of hours, you may feel it's time to switch from gas to electric.
On top of the growing infrastructure, today's electric vehicles have more horsepower than ever, have stellar ranges rivalling gasoline-fueled cars, cost a fraction to keep fueled and maintain, and produce no direct emissions. So now may be the right time for you to finally buy an electric vehicle.
Which electric vehicles are best for you? To help you decide, we’ve outlined the 12 best electric vehicles in Canada across a few categories, including what to look for in an electric vehicle.
Certain qualities make a great electric vehicle. Sure, there are super-fast ones and those with ranges reaching the 500-km area. While these are great for bragging rights, they aren't always qualities that make an electric vehicle the right choice for you.
Some of the variables that make up the best electric vehicle in Canada are as follows:
Yes, driving range is a factor in choosing an electric vehicle, but not everyone needs a 500-km Tesla Model 3 Long Range. Look at your daily commute and the number of kilometres you drive outside that commute to get an idea of your base range requirements.
For example, the average Canadian's commute is 57 km, which means 114 km round-trip. If your workplace has a charging station installed, great, but assume there will be no nearby charging options.
Imagine after work you grab groceries or shuttle the kids around, adding around 50 km to the odometer. That's only 164 km before the car is parked and charging in your garage.
At 164 km, that makes pretty much every electric vehicle manufactured in the past few years an option.
Remember, you’ll also want to account for the cold Canadian winters and their impact on electric driving range. Research shows temperatures below -6.7 degrees Celcius can cut an electric vehicle's range by 40%. This range drop is due to the liquid in the battery becoming so cold it impacts its ability to take and retain a charge. Using the cabin heater to keep you and your passengers comfortable also puts an extra drain on the battery.
So, make sure to hack 40% off any range to account for wintertime driving.
Remember, electric vehicles aren't free to fuel. Charging your electric vehicle will cause your electric bill to tick up, eating into some of those fuel savings. Granted, you'll rarely surpass — or even come close to — the cost of refueling a traditional car, but it's not a free-for-all.
Every electric vehicle has a Le/100 km rating, which looks at the energy consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 km and converts it to a fuel equivalent. In this equation, one litre of gasoline is equal to 8.9 kWh of electricity.
Just because a vehicle has a very long electric driving range doesn't always mean it'll have a low fuel-consumption equivalent. For example, the 2021 Tesla Model S Performance with 21-inch wheels has a super-long range of 538 km, but its combined fuel-consumption equivalent is 2.5Le/100 km, which is among the worst ratings of all electric cars.
On the flip-side, the 2016 Chevy Spark EV has just a 131-km driving range, but its combined 2.0Le/100 km is among the best of all electric cars.
So, finding a vehicle with the right range is great, but you also want an efficient one. An inefficient electric car may negate a portion of your fuel savings in charging.
Of course, your budget matters too. Sure, we'd all love a $100,000 Tesla Model X, but that's not in the cards for most shoppers.
As of July 2021, the average used car online was $28,736. Considering the average Canadian keeps their vehicle for nine years and spends $1,510 per year on fuel, you could budget upward of $35,000 for an electric vehicle and still save money when you account for fuel savings.
But not every Canadian lives by these averages, so look at your budget and average fuel expenses to determine what price range suits you.
Now that you know what to look for, let's look at some of Canada’s best electric vehicles (EVs) in specific categories.
These are models with super-low fuel-consumption equivalent ratings (Le/100 km). These may not always have the best range, but they will maximize your overall savings.
The 2020 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range is the king of low consumption in Canada with Le/100 km ratings of 1.8 city, 2.0 highway, and 1.9 combined. On top of that, it has a spectacular range of 425 km. It's not as great as the Long Range model, but it'll satisfy virtually any commuter's needs.
With a typical dealer asking price of $49,264, you’ll need a slightly higher budget to fit this model in.
The Tesla Model Y Long Range sneaks in just behind its sedan sibling with Le/100 km ratings of 1.9 city, 2.1 highway, and 1.9 combined. It beats the Model 3 in range at 509 km and has far more cargo room for those who need to haul items around. Also, its standard all-wheel drive will come in handy on snowy Canadian roadways.
The sticking point for the Model Y is its typical dealer asking price of $55,921.
Another one of the most efficient electric vehicles is the 2020 Kona Electric. This all-electric subcompact crossover looks great and delivers Le/100 km ratings of 1.8 city, 2.2 highway, and 2.0 combined. And with a 415-km range, the Kona Electric can handle just about any commuter's daily route.
With a typical dealer asking price of $34,895 for the base Essentials trim, the 2020 Kona Electric also hits the mark in pricing.
When the Bolt EV debuted, it was revolutionary in its combination of drivability, price, and driving range. Today, this carries on, and it makes our list of the most efficient EVs with Le/100 km ratings of 1.9 city, 2.2 highway, and 2.0 combined. Plus, with a 417-km range, the daily commute will be no issue at all.
With a typical dealer asking price of $41,499 for the base model, the 2021 Bolt EV is priced slightly above the target $35,000 range. However, if you extend your ownership beyond nine years, the fuel cost offset will improve.
For some EV shoppers, all that matters is kilometres. These high-range vehicles are sure to appeal to these shoppers but be aware of their higher prices and reduced efficiency in some cases.
If you want the king of electric driving range, you can choose from a range of Tesla Model S variants from 2016 through 2022. Topping the Model S list is the 2021 and 2022 Model S Long Range at 652 km. Plus, they are quite efficient at just 2.0Le/100 km combined. Even if you stretch back to 2016, the Model S P100D delivered 507 km of electric driving range.
There are lower-range Model S in this era that dipped into the 300s and 400s for range, so watch out for these. These will include the P85D, P90D, 70D, 60D, and base models.
Opting for a 2021 Model S Long Range will set you back an average of $107,380, but the 2016 model will likely be far more affordable.
Again, Tesla takes a huge chuck with tonnes of Model X variants from 2016-2022 topping the list. At the top of the list of Model X variants is the 2021 Long Range Plus model at 597 km. Buyers can go all the way down to the 2019 Model X Performance and its 491-km range.
While these range-heavy midsize electric SUVs will deliver on your daily commute, they will set you back a pretty penny. The 2021 Model X Long Range Plus carries a typical dealer price of $101,460, and the 2019 Model X Performance carries a typical dealer asking price of $99,521.
There is clearly a pattern here, as another Tesla model — the compact Model 3 — takes up another chunk of real estate atop the maximum range category. From 2020 through 2022, the Model 3 Long Range and Performance models offer all-electric driving ranges of 507-576 km.
The Model 3 is also the most economical Tesla model, but it's still pricier than most EVs. The 2021 Long Range model carries a typical dealer asking price of $61,702, while the 2020 Performance model's typical dealer asking price is $68,278.
Is it obvious yet what automaker revolutionized the long-range electric vehicle? Tesla is up again with the 2020 through 2022 Model Y Long Range and Performance models. These cargo-friendly crossovers pack 507-531 km of range, meeting virtually any commuter's needs.
You'd better be ready to open that wallet for this compact SUV, though. The 2021 Model Y Long Range will set you back $62,172, and the 2020 model will run you an average of $55,921.
Now, sometimes range and fuel economy aren't the main focus when shopping for all-electric vehicles, but overall value is the name of the game. This is when the buyer must consider all variables: price, range, and efficiency. In some cases, they may also look at features as a potential tiebreaker.
The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric won't set any records with its 200-km range, but with a typical dealer starting price of just $20,371 and a fuel-consumption equivalent of 1.7L/100 km, it will save buyers with shorter commutes and tons of cash. And at this low price, you also get a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, further boosting its value.
According to NRCAN, this hatchback will cost just $403 per year to charge, saving you an average of $1,107 per year. This EV will start paying dividends the moment you drive it off the lot.
The 2015-2017 BMW i3 also won't overly impress with its 130-km driving range, but its efficiency is top-notch with a 1.9Le/100 km combined consumption rate. Plus, it’s well below budget with an average dealer starting price of just $21,341-$27,433.
Also, its $437 in yearly fueling (charging) costs is $1,073 per year below the average fueling costs in Canada.
The 2017-2018 Volkswagen e-Golf often falls through the battery electric vehicle (BEV) cracks, but it's a solid option for any EV shopper seeking simply the best all-around value. Its batteries offer 200-km of range, and its powertrain allows it to deliver a 2.0Le/100 km combined fuel consumption rate.
The e-Golf is also quite affordable with a typical dealer starting price of just $22,105-$27,097, so it fits nicely under the budget. Speaking of the budget; your fuel budget will thank you for its $452 per year in fueling costs, which is $1,058 under the yearly average.
The Nissan LEAF essentially launched the rebirth of the all-electric car after other automakers failed to socialize electric motors as the sole propulsion system in modern cars. Though it's fallen way off the lead in driving range, it remains a good value, especially in the earlier years.
Plus, the ongoing savings are incredible with a combined fuel consumption rate of 2.1Le/100 km and just $478 in yearly fuel costs. Keep in mind, it does have a very limited range of just 135 km, and with its age, look out for battery degradation which will eat up some of that range.
When buying a used electric vehicle in Canada, there are a few rebates you may qualify for. Sure, the big rebates are the federal incentives on new models, but these smaller used rebates from local governments can also help the overall cost.
If you purchase a qualifying used 2017-2019 electric vehicle in Quebec, you may receive up to a $4,000 government rebate.
Eligible models include the:
Ontario has also launched an incentive program for used electric vehicles. This incentive is a $1,000 check for any personal-use EV with a resale sticker price below $50,000 before taxes.
To receive your $1,000 incentive, you must attend a free seminar on Canada's electric vehicle industry. Plug-in hybrid vehicles aren't eligible for this rebate.
No matter which electric vehicle is best for your situation, you can find your ideal match at Clutch, Canada's first online vehicle retailer. Whether it's a range-heavy Tesla or a wallet-friendly LEAF, you can shop Clutch’s large inventory of quality pre-owned vehicles.
All our pre-owned electric vehicles undergo a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process to ensure they're in prime condition. We also include a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty for peace of mind.
Adding even more reassurance to the online vehicle-buying process, we include a no-risk 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you don't love your new electric vehicle within that period, you can return it for a full refund or exchange it for a different model.
Check out our range of quality pre-owned electric vehicles today and choose the one that suits you best. You can complete the purchase process online, and we'll deliver the vehicle to you.