Over the past decade, Canadian roads have witnessed a surge in electric vehicles (EVs), reflecting a global trend towards sustainable transportation. This transition has sparked debate among Canadian drivers, weighing the benefits of EVs against the familiarity of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars – otherwise known as gas or fuel-powered cars and hybrid models.

In this article, we delve into the nuanced comparison between EVs and ICE cars, considering these questions:

How do EVs, ICEs and hybrids compare in terms of environmental impact? 

  • EVs: Canada's commitment to having net-zero emissions by 2050 aligns with the adoption of electric vehicles. EVs offer a promising solution, emitting fewer pollutants and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, contributing to cleaner air quality across the country. In densely populated urban centers like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, where air pollution is a significant concern, EVs represent a viable solution for combating environmental degradation and improving public health.
  • Hybrid vehicles: Hybrid vehicles, while combining elements of both ICE and electric technology, offer environmental benefits, though to a lesser extent compared to pure EVs. By leveraging electric power for low-speed driving and the gasoline engine for higher speeds or when additional power is needed, hybrids contribute to reduced emissions and fuel consumption, making them an attractive option for environmentally conscious Canadian drivers.
  • ICE vehicles: ICE vehicles significantly impact the environment due to their emission of pollutants such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter. These emissions contribute to air pollution, smog formation, and the exacerbation of respiratory illnesses. Additionally, ICE vehicles are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which are a leading cause of global warming and climate change. As a result, reducing the reliance on ICE vehicles and transitioning to cleaner alternatives like electric vehicles is crucial for mitigating the environmental impacts of transportation.

How do EVs, ICEs and hybrids compare in terms of performance and driving experience?

  • EVs: For Canadian drivers, the appeal of electric vehicles lies in their smooth acceleration and quiet operation, ideal for navigating city streets and serene country roads. The instant torque provided by EVs ensures responsive handling, an asset during harsh Canadian winters or traversing rugged terrains in regions like Alberta or British Columbia.
  • Hybrid vehicles: Hybrid vehicles offer a balanced driving experience, combining the benefits of both electric and gasoline powertrains. Additionally, the seamless transition between power sources ensures a comfortable driving experience, whether navigating city streets or embarking on long highway journeys.
  • ICE vehicles: Conversely, ICE cars offer a familiar driving experience, bolstered by a robust network of fueling stations, which remains crucial for long-distance travel across Canada's vast landscapes, from the coastal routes of Nova Scotia to the expansive highways of the Prairies.

How do EVs, ICEs and hybrids compare in terms of maintenance and repairs?

  • EVs: EVs generally have fewer moving parts compared to ICE cars, resulting in lower maintenance costs over time. With no need for oil changes or complex engine components, EV owners can enjoy reduced servicing requirements. However, EVs may incur high repair costs, particularly for battery-related issues, and finding skilled technicians for specialized repairs can be challenging.
  • Hybrid vehicles: Hybrids offer a middle ground, with reduced maintenance needs compared to ICE cars but may require servicing for both conventional engine components and electric drivetrain components. As hybrid technology becomes more mainstream, servicing costs are expected to decrease, making hybrids an attractive option for drivers seeking a balance between reliability and efficiency.
  • ICE vehicles: ICE cars require more frequent maintenance, including oil changes, filter replacements, and tune-ups, which can accumulate higher costs over time. Additionally, ICE cars are susceptible to mechanical failures and wear and tear on components such as the engine and transmission.

How do EVs, ICEs and hybrids compare in terms of cost?

  • EVs:
    • Higher ticket price: While EVs often have higher initial purchase prices, incentives and tax credits can offset these costs, making EVs an attractive long-term investment, particularly for city dwellers. The average ticket price for EVs in 2024 is around $50,798, which is about 5.5% higher than non-EVs.
    • Lower incurred costs of ownership: Lower operating expenses and long-term maintenance savings further contribute to the allure of EV ownership; however, drivers should expect their home’s monthly electrical bill to rise.
    • High repair costs: The most expensive repair costs that could affect an EV owner would involve repairing or replacing the vehicle’s battery, which could cost between $6,000 and $20,000.
  • Hybrid vehicles:
    • Lower ticket price: Hybrid vehicles offer a middle ground, with lower upfront costs compared to pure EVs and potentially lower long-term costs compared to ICE cars.
    • Plug-in cost difference: Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), while typically more expensive than traditional hybrids, offer the benefit of extended electric-only range, potentially reducing fuel costs in the long run. While the ticket cost would be higher for PHEVs, they can be up to 50% cheaper to maintain and repair than ICE vehicles due to their internal components.
  • ICE vehicles:

How do EVs, ICEs and hybrids compare in terms of convenience and reliability?

  • EVs: As Canada advances towards a greener future, the development of charging infrastructure remains a focal point, particularly in urban centers. Challenges persist, especially in remote regions, where access to working charging stations may be limited. Initiatives like the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program aim to expand Canada's charging network, making EV ownership more accessible to Canadians nationwide. However, the infrastructure does not seem to be there yet with many Canadians sharing negative experiences with locating functioning charging stations, inconsistent charging times and mileage when driving in harsher climates or on highways.
  • Hybrid vehicles: Hybrid vehicles offer convenience without the need for charging infrastructure, relying on traditional fueling stations. Plug-in hybrids offer a similar advantage, with the added benefit of being able to charge their batteries through an external power source.
  • ICE vehicles: ICE cars benefit from Canada's well-established refueling infrastructure, offering convenience and peace of mind to drivers across the country. With a network of gas stations spanning urban centers and rural areas, ICE cars remain the most reliable choice for Canadian drivers accustomed to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.

How do EVs, ICEs and hybrids compare in terms of availability of extended warranty solutions?

In the Canadian context, where extreme weather and vast distances pose unique challenges, the role of extended warranties is crucial for EV, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and ICE owners alike. In recent years, innovative extended warranty providers, like GuardTree, have begun offering extended warranties that cover the crucial parts of your vehicle depending on its fuel source. This offers drivers, especially of newer models like EVs, peace of mind and coverage on expensive components like battery packs, even as technology evolves. Before settling on an extended warranty that is right for them, Canadian drivers should consider factors such as their manufacturer warranty, repair networks, and climate-related risks.

So, what's the best option for Canadians: EVs, ICEs, and hybrids?

For Canadian drivers weighing their options between vehicle types, the decision ultimately hinges on various factors and the driver’s budget, lifestyle, and priorities.

For the driver who prioritizes the future and their environmental impacts:

EVs are gaining traction due to their environmental benefits, lower operating costs, and government incentives. However, challenges such as range anxiety and access to charging infrastructure persist, particularly in remote regions. It’s no secret that the automotive world is moving toward being fully electric, so as technology continues to evolve and infrastructure improves, these drivers will be ahead of the curve in the transition towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation options.

For the driver who prioritizes familiarity and comfort:

ICE cars remain a familiar choice for many Canadians, offering a well-established refueling infrastructure and a wide range of options to suit different driving needs.

For the driver who prioritizes reliability:

Hybrids offer a balanced solution, combining the efficiency of electric power with the convenience of gasoline engines, making them suitable for urban commuting and longer road trips alike.

Protect your vehicle, no matter what type, with GuardTree's extended warranty.

At GuardTree, electric, gas-powered, and hybrid vehicle owners can find affordable extended warranty plans to protect their finances from the unique repair and breakdown costs associated with each vehicle type.

View what’s covered and use our price calculator to discover a plan for your vehicle and budget, so you can start saving on repair and breakdown costs today.

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Disclaimer: This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute mechanical or other professional advice as it relates to your vehicle. Each person must consult a qualified professional with respect to matters referenced in this post. GuardTree Inc. assumes no liability whatsoever for actions taken (or not taken) in reliance upon the information contained herein.