Gas prices continue to soar, making electric cars a legitimate option for more buyers. Not everyone can afford the payment on a new electric car, but a used electric car could be a solid option. 

Before pulling the trigger on a used electric car, you must understand the positives and negatives that go with this buying decision. Below, we'll highlight the pros and cons of buying a used electric car in Canada so you can make an informed decision. 

Pros of Buying a Used Electric Vehicle (EV) in Canada

There are plenty of great reasons to buy a used EV in Canada. Here are a few of the big ones:. 

Gas Stations Fuel You Only

Once you have an electric vehicle, gas stations go from being a place you stop to fuel your car to places you stop only to fuel yourself with quick snacks and drinks. Instead of stopping at the gas station every few days to a week to top off your tank, you can plug in your EV at home each night and have a full charge by the morning. 

Low Operating Costs

There is so much maintenance and repair with internal combustion engines (ICEs), ranging from several oil changes per year to costly timing belt replacements. On the other hand, EVs are mostly free from these tedious maintenance and repair procedures. 

Generally, they only have a handful of inexpensive maintenance and repair items you must complete. On average, EV maintenance and repair will run you $949 per year, which is $330 less than a traditional vehicle. So, if you keep your EV for five years, it'll save you $1,650 in maintenance and repair costs.  

Also, when it comes to charging EVs, it generally costs significantly less than the average ICE-powered vehicle. For example, the 2017 Hyundai IONIQ Electric costs an estimated $465 per year to charge. The cheapest new car to fuel in Canada is the IONIQ Electric's sibling, the IONIQ Blue hybrid, and it costs $800 per year. As for non-hybrid cars, the cheapest ICE vehicle to fuel is the Mitsubishi Mirage at $1,240 per year. 

So, if you own your EV for five years, you can save at least $1,675-$3,875 throughout your ownership in fueling costs alone. Add in the maintenance savings, and you'll save at least $3,325-$5,525. 

Instant Torque

While EVs are rarely fun to drive -- unless you're talking about Tesla's lineup -- their electric motors offer instant torque, whereas an ICE must build up engine speed to get to its peak torque. This gives EVs a healthy snappiness off from a stop that ICE vehicles lack.

Expanding Charger Infrastructure 

Range anxiety remains a key issue for prospective EV shoppers. They fear that if they have a long journey to take, they won't make it on a single charge. 

As of late 2021, there were about 15,000 public charging stations in 6,578 locations across the country. And there are more on the way. Plus, the Canadian government is offering to fund up to 50% of the installation costs for companies that install EV chargers. This funding is worth up to $5,000 per Level 2 charger and up to $15,000-$75,000 for a DC Fast Charger.  

For folks who still feel the range simply isn't enough, there are also plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), like the BMW i3 or Toyota Prius Prime, that bridge the gap. These vehicles offer a small -- usually 40-80 km -- all-electric range and then a gasoline engine kicks in to make it a hybrid vehicle the rest of the way.

Going Green

While there is research showing EV battery production expands EV's carbon footprint to that of typical ICE vehicles, this is not the case. Yes, lithium-ion battery production has a large carbon footprint. Still, once you calculate the ongoing carbon footprint of an EV post-sale, thanks to it having no tailpipe emissions,  it's typically smaller than an ICE vehicle

Also, with solar and other renewable energy making electricity production greener, this footprint will only shrink in the future. 

Tax Credits

While the federal government has no tax credit for buying a used EV, some provinces have incentive programs, including:

  • New Brunswick: $1,000 rebate (PHEV); $2,500 rebate (EV)
  • Ontario: $1,000 toward the purchase of a used EV and $1,000 toward the purchase of a used EV if you scrap your old ICE vehicle
  • Nova Scotia: $2,000 rebate on used EVs
  • Prince Edward Island: $5,000 rebate for a used EV

These rebates change frequently, so verify they remain before committing to purchasing a used EV. 

Cons of Buying an Electric Vehicle in Canada

While there are plenty of great reasons to buy an electric car, there are several downsides to it too. Here are some downsides to consider. 

Long Charging Times

If you charge at home on a 120-volt plug, you may need to charge for 15 hours or longer to get a full battery. Even with a Level 2 charger, you're looking at a few hours to get a full charge. 

If you can find a DC Fast Charger and your vehicle's onboard charger can accept a high charging rate, you can get a few hundred miles of range in 15-30 minutes. For example, connecting a Tesla model to a Tesla Supercharger can deliver up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes

While that 15-30 minute is revolutionary, it's still slower than the 3-5 minutes you'll spend at the fuel pump. However, the charge times will continue dropping over the years and may eventually become as quick — or quicker than — refuelling. 

Limited Charging Options

While the EV charging infrastructure is growing as quickly as it can, it's still behind refuelling stations, gas stations are pretty much on every corner. 

Average EV Range Still Trails ICE Range

As of 2021, the average EV could travel 313 km on a charge. That's a huge increase compared to just a decade ago. However, the median ICE driving range is 663 km. Some long-range models, such as the Tesla Model S and Model X, currently deliver up to a 652-km and 560-km driving range, respectively. However, for every Tesla, there's a Nissan LEAF, Ford Focus Electric, or Volkswagen e-Golf with just a 240-km, 185-km, and 201-km driving range respectively. 

Initial Cost

You're bound to save a lot of money buying a used EV compared to a new one. However, you can still expect to pay a few thousand dollar premium on a used EV compared to an equivalent used ICE vehicle. 

Yes, you will make this up in maintenance, repair, and fuel costs, but the initial hit can be a hard one to absorb. 

Potential Battery Failure

While many automakers offer 160,000-km or longer warranties on their EV batteries, not all do. And they do wear down over time. Most experts say an EV battery can last over 320,000 km. However, there's still an opportunity for failure shortly after the warranty runs out, and the typical battery pack costs $5,000-$15,000, not including labour. 

EVs Are Still a Great Alternative and Improving

While there are still some cons to overcome for EVs, they remain a viable alternative for traditional internal combustion and hybrid vehicle. Plus, with new improvements in charging and battery tech always coming and costs falling, they will become even more viable options with time. 

Get a Quality Used Electric Car at Clutch

If you're looking for a quality used electric car at a great price and with the most stress-free purchasing process, Clutch has you covered. As Canada's first-ever 100% online pre-owned automotive retailer, we offer you the ability to find and buy your vehicle online without setting foot in a dealership. 

Simply find the used electric car that suits you best, complete most of the purchase paperwork online, get your trade-in vehicle appraised (if needed), and set up financing. We'll then deliver your vehicle to you and even pick up your trade-in vehicle at the same time. 

All our vehicles come with a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty and include a 10-day or 750-km test-own period that allows you an extended test drive with the vehicle. If you don't love it, you can exchange it for another or get a complete refund.