It’s a common question: are electric vehicles (EVs) always cleaner than internal-combustion vehicles?

Not always. Here in B.C., EVs are much cleaner than internal-combustion vehicles because the CO2 emissions from electricity generation in B.C. are very low. In fact, the power BC Hydro supplies is 98% clean and renewable. In other parts of Canada, and globally, electricity is often produced from coal or gas, so there are a lot more CO2 emissions related to EVs.

Is it true that EVs don’t last as long as internal-combustion vehicles?

No. EVs really go the distance. First, the electric motor is simple, so there are fewer moving parts to worry about. That means some electric vehicles will run for as long as two million kilometres by some estimates! An internal-combustion engine, by comparison, will run for about 320,000 km. Brakes are longer-lasting as well, since they use regenerative energy (see “Plugging in to EVs”). Some EV batteries, however, do deplete somewhat after about eight to 10 years, so the distance you can drive before needing to recharge may decrease modestly over time.

Are EVs only good for driving in urban areas?

No. The earlier models would get a mere 60 km on a single charge. That number has increased significantly. For example, the 2017 Nissan Leaf promises 172 km of range on a single charge, while the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV (see “Going electric”) gets an estimated 383 km. And Telsa has been offering this kind of range for years.

Make the switch

Be strategic with window coverings. On cooler days open south-facing drapes and blinds to let in the afternoon sun and boost the warmth inside. Once the sun sets, draw the window coverings to save on heat loss. Heavy drapes help keep cold drafts out so if you’re not using a room, consider keeping window coverings closed during the day.