A different relationship with the car | The press

The electric vehicle seems, at first glance, not suitable for all situations. But on closer inspection, we believe that many drivers could benefit.

Posted at 11:45

Eric LeFrancois

Eric LeFrancois
special cooperation

When it announced to the press the characteristics of its first production electric vehicle, the bZ4X, Toyota management did not fail to point out that this vehicle was not for everyone. A precision that is still useful today in the face of the challenges that sometimes pose this type of vehicle especially in terms of price, but also, for some, autonomy, recharging and winter performance.

The autonomy of electric models is constantly improving, but often at the expense of a heavier battery and therefore longer recharging. Hence the need for consumers to properly assess their needs. In this regard, according to the most recent study available (2016), Canadians traveled an average of 57 km per day. In addition, according to data collected by Statistics Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the percentage of teleworkers from 13% in 2019 to 39.1% in March 2020.

Therefore, the presumed autonomy of all electric vehicles on the market is more than enough, unless the said home is now further away than before the workplace.

Regardless of the distance to work, the possibility of having a charging station at home (and also at work?) Greatly reduces the anxiety that new converts often feel.

Quebec motorists have the privilege of obtaining two grants for the purchase of an electric vehicle. These sums are subject to certain conditions (see next tab) and are not sufficient to fill the gap with a conventional vehicle (read it with gas) that offers similar characteristics. There is hope. According to a study by Bloomberg, however, tariff parity could be predicted for 2026.

A little planning

Leaving Montreal for the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia involves some preparations. We need to consider the (ideally fast) terminals available. There should also be a security solution in case the computer is busy or malfunctioning.

To help with planning, motorists benefit from a variety of mobile applications (including one offered by the vehicle manufacturer) to properly plan their outings.

Is it so different from the days when you had to plot your route on a roadmap?

As for winter performance, it’s a little trickier. The heat pump and the preheating device are solutions to keep the occupants warm during the cold season, but these devices affect the autonomy in a very worrying way (up to 50%).

Finally, virtually every electric vehicle currently on the market offers a two-wheel drive configuration (traction, such as the Toyota bZ4X, is also offered with all-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive).

If it is a propulsion, the weight and its ideal distribution in an electric vehicle will not pose real problems of traction on open and flat roads. However, this configuration could be more complicated if you have to climb a slope to access the chalet or the sports station. The four-wheel drive option, despite its reduced range caused by the presence of a second engine on the other round train, is still preferable to cope with our climate.

Beyond the price

In its latest budget, the Quebec government is downwardly reviewing subsidies for new and used electrified vehicles (see table below). This change will take effect on 1er next july. Please note that owners of eligible vehicles delivered and registered before June 30th will benefit from bonuses paid before the budget is submitted.

For its part, the federal government has renewed its $ 5,000 bonus, provided the price of the coveted vehicle does not exceed $ 45,000.

The main purpose of these discounts is to reduce the price gap between an electrified model and its thermal “equivalent”. They do not currently fill them. However, this gap is reduced if users’ costs are taken into account. The maintenance costs associated with an electric vehicle are lower (around 30% overall) compared to a vehicle of comparable gasoline size. Electricity is also much cheaper than oil. In fact, to illustrate the difference, traveling 100 km costs up to six times less to drive electrically.

In addition to these budget benefits, there are certain privileges. How to get access to reserved lanes, be free of tolls (Highways 25 and 30), take free ferries, and finally benefit from reserved parking spaces in certain Quebec municipalities.

From 1er In July 2022, the Quebec government will grant the following maximum amounts

  • $ 7,000 for a new 100% electric vehicle
  • $ 5,000, $ 2,500 or $ 300 for a new plug-in hybrid vehicle
  • $ 3,500 for a used all-electric vehicle

When the electric mixes genres

Sedan, utility and, recently, van switch to all electric. What about the other categories? Volkswagen has announced that it will reinterpret the Combi (a minivan) from 2024, and Tesla has long been promising the arrival of a roadster. Polestar and Alfa Romeo are also planning convertibles before the end of this decade.


Will Polestar studio 02 experience the joys of mass production?

Given the industrial costs of this shift towards consumers ’appetite for utilities, the automotive sector is playing into safety. Naturally, it concentrates its offer in the most demanded segments.

But the SUV that was previously thought to be the easiest to “connect” doesn’t live up to all its promises due to its higher air resistance (aerodynamic coefficient) and substantial weight. This is even more important with these hundreds of pounds of batteries on board. That is why we are witnessing the deployment of a new generation of tall models on wheels, sometimes imposing, but cut to cut the air more easily.

Burst of creativity

But electric mobility will have an even greater impact on shapes and will inevitably lead to different segmentation.

The compact size of an electric motor, as well as the floor covering with batteries, open up several possibilities. Already, stylists and engineers are varying the dimensions of the cantilevers and the interior space. This is reassuring.

Paralyzed for years by the unique profile of the SUV, the car industry is about to rediscover its creativity. And its extravagances too!

Does the hybrid still have it under the hood?

Given the reduction in the availability of electric vehicles, hybrid motorization remains an interesting alternative solution to limit its ecological footprint. Not only does it reduce consumption, it also represents a way to introduce customers who are still reluctant to electricity.


Plug-in hybrid technology was to ensure a long, smooth transition between the internal combustion engine and the electric one.

Combining two engines (one gasoline, the other electric) and equipped with a rechargeable battery, these hybrids with a cable behind the wheel can not, in general (there are rare exceptions) run, at best, only fifty miles thanks to its electric motor. ground. There is no real evolution on this side, and that, for a few years now.

In addition, some analysts wonder if the heyday of these models designed to facilitate the transition from all-thermal to all-electric will not be shorter than expected.

Perceived as a transition technology, the plug-in hybrid engine can’t do it all. Once the battery is discharged, fuel consumption increases.

That’s the crux of the matter: how to use these sophisticated hybrids. To reap the benefits of this technology, you must always be connected to a terminal.

And hydrogen

Hydrogen fuel cell technology remains in the race for clean cars, but far behind the batteries. It offers electric mobility, but at the moment, its distribution network is embryonic and, in the pump, this gas costs almost as much as gasoline.

For those who have the soul of pioneers and the means to satisfy it, Toyota has just launched the second generation of the Mirai in the Quebec market.

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