Electric only cars are set to change the world as affordability and range improves.

At one time a range of only 300 kilometers was considered groundbreaking from a battery powered car– now the latest Tesla offers over 500 kilometers of driving on a full charge – making “range anxiety” truly a thing of the past.

Despite still higher costs for electric cars, the benefits they make to drivers, consumers, and the planet is mindboggling.

By Veeno Dewan

Even in the last two years or so, the number of electric-only cars available and their performance has improved by leaps and bounds.  At one time a range of only 300 kilometers was considered groundbreaking from a battery– now the latest Tesla offers over 500 kilometers of driving on a full charge – making “range anxiety” honestly a thing of the past.  Despite still higher costs for all-electric cars, the benefits they create to drivers, consumers, and the planet is mindboggling.   In 2014, there were an estimated 10,000 electric vehicles on Canada’s roads. By 2016, that figure is reported to be around 23,000. But, put into context, electric cars are still only a tiny fraction of the more than 20 million vehicles registered in Canada.

However, electric vehicles are kinder on the environment as they emit no exhaust, uses no gasoline, have little moving parts, require no oil changes or engine service, and minimal maintenance. You just plug in to charge the battery and the drive away!   And it is not only automakers who see an electric-car future. Countries around the world are considering measures to either bam or limit the number of gasoline-engined vehicles built.  European countries are looking at phasing out gasoline cars in the years to come in favor of all-electric cars, and France and the U.K, recently announced that they are aiming to end the sale of gas and diesel cars as early as 2040.

It is predicted that electric cars will be as affordable as traditional gas-powered cars by 2025, and the tipping point- the point at which electric cars will outsell gasoline-powered vehicles is expected to be around the year 2040.  Some issues are slowing the integration of all-electric cars to the mainstream. Cost is the number one factor.  Chevrolet’s All-electric Bolt – supposed to be a cheap option is still over $42,000 in its base form. Aside from Tesla’s much-awaited Model 3, all-electric car; which is slated to start around US$35,000 electric cars are not cheap. But with an order list of over 300,000 for the Tesla3, it may be a long-long wait for potential buyers.  There is some help to sweeten the pot for those contemplating buying an all-electric vehicle.

Some Canadian provinces offer incentives for drivers who opt for electric cars. The Ontario government provides a rebate of up to $14,000 for cars and $1,000 off charging installations. Quebec offers up to $8,000 off cars, while British Columbia gives up to $5,000.   There are some tempting improvements in pricing, however, so make use of the incentives. A Nissan Leaf starts at $33,000, or an all-electric 2017 Ford Focus at $32,000. Also remember, the initial higher priced can be offset by lower ownership costs. For example, a recent study by Ontario’s provincial government estimated that a typical battery-powered car costs $300 a year to charge compared to between $1,000 and $2,500 for a comparable gas-powered car  But to show you just how much the technology has improved. Tesla’s latest Model S 100D has a large range of 539 kilometers on a full battery charge, that’s the exciting news. The bad news is the 100D costs $155,550!  As the battery performance and the driving range increases, while the price drops, the future of the all-electric cars looks bright. Expect a lot more to be a lot more parked on your neighbor driveways in the future!