At the same time gas prices in the Greater Toronto Area set record highs – and experts predicted the cost could reach $1.65 per litre – the province extended its COVID-19-related electricity rate relief program. This meant anyone charging their EV was taking advantage of the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
This was a temporary measure that expired on Feb. 7, but most EV owners charge their vehicles at night, and aren’t likely to see a bump in their electricity bills if they continue to charge between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., when those lower Toronto Hydro rates apply. Even with costlier electricity compared to other provinces, charging an EV at home is much less expensive than fuelling the most efficient hybrid with gas.
When we bought our Nissan Leaf a decade ago, we also had a separate meter installed with our charging station in our garage so we would get a bill that showed only the cost of charging our EV. We put roughly 1,000 kilometres on our commuter per month and, in our first month of owning the vehicle, it cost us $22.62. Our monthly fuel bill went down approximately 87 per cent, from about $180 to less than $30, after taxes. Over the first six months, we calculated our average EV fuelling cost to be $2.62 per 100 kilometres. The off-peak rate was lower back then, at 6.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, but so was regular fuel, which in Toronto that year averaged $1.28 per litre.
So how much exactly will one’s electricity bill increase if you buy an EV? It depends on how much you drive, how cold the weather is and the efficiency of your EV, but your pattern will be like ours. You will use more electricity in winter (30 to 40 per cent more for us), and less in summer. An unscientific poll on the Canadian EV Owners group on Facebook a few years back suggested the most common EV fuel cost per month was between $20 and $30, but that reflected different commute lengths across the country.
Michael Bettencourt bought his first EV in late 2011 and has closely followed the Canadian EV scene ever since. Follow him on Twitter @MCBet10court
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