Date Published: 2023/06/27

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Owning a hybrid or electric vehicle in Canada has its perks

A close-up of someone attaching the charging cable for an electric vehicle to the charging port on their electric car.

In recent years, the popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles has increased significantly. If you are considering one of these options, it is important to consider the different types of electric vehicle options, what would compliment your driving needs best, viability in your climate, environmental impact, and the potential impact on your wallet.

Understanding the different types of EVs

1. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

BEVs, commonly known as fully electric cars, never use gasoline and are powered exclusively by an electric motor and battery pack. They are the most cost-effective and considered the most eco friendly EV option. 

2. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEVs have the same components as hybrids with one significant difference, the battery packs are much larger and can be recharged by plugging in. They provide 20-80 km of dedicated all-electric driving. Once the battery is used up, a gasoline engine or generator takes over, and the car functions like a regular hybrid from that point on. PHEVs are more affordable to drive than traditional hybrids because they provide all-electric driving for most day-to-day needs while offering equal or better fuel economy when operating in gasoline mode.

3. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

HEVs, commonly known as ‘hybrids’, contain a gasoline engine, an electric motor, and a small battery pack. The battery is recharged through a process called ‘regenerative braking’. This is when the electric motor switches on after the vehicle stops and when it first accelerates, the gasoline engine takes over once you reach cruising speed. Regenerative braking lets the electric motor and the gasoline engine do what they’re best at, which improves your overall efficiency and reduces your fuel costs. Since they are still mainly powered by gasoline, HEVs are often excluded from conversations surrounding electric vehicles.

How much does an EV cost?

We’ve gotten in the habit of separating purchase price from operating cost with gas vehicles. To be objective with the overall cost of EVs, it’s better to consider both the purchase price and the operating cost.

Save more long-term with EVs

  • Since an EV uses electricity instead of fossil fuels, they are much more affordable to drive. The average Canadian driver, travelling 20,000 km per year, can save as much as $2,000 per year on fuel alone1.
  • EV owners don’t just save money on gas – they also spend less time at the shop since EVs require less frequent and less complicated maintenance than gas vehicles. If maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, EV drivers pay half as much to repair and maintain their vehicles2.
  • Some of Orbit’s insurance carriers, like Aviva, and CAA offer incentives and discounts for people with hybrid or electric vehicles. See the below chart for a comparison:


• 10% Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Discount

• Please note that these discounts will replace any existing Green Vehicle Discounts

• Applicable for principal and occasional operators

• Electric Vehicle customers will be able to receive a tow to the closest vehicle charge station free of charge in the event their battery loses charge on the road. To help encourage the adoption of Electric Vehicles, a $2,000 subsidy incentive towards the purchase of a brand-new Electric Vehicle is available for a customer who experiences a covered total loss on their gas-powered or Hybrid vehicle, insured with Aviva.
CAA• 5% Hybrid Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Discount

You may be wondering, with a higher price tag, when will I recoup that cost? Plug‘n Drive, a non-profit and leader in the EV industry, provides some of the most popular EVs on the road. They state that most vehicles take less than five years to break even1.

Life-cycle cost

Some people worry about whether they are doing their part in protecting the environment by buying an EV or whether they will save money in the long run if they buy one. The battery is the most expensive component by far, after all. It is important to understand the replacement cost of an electric or hybrid vehicle’s battery. This cost varies widely between makes of vehicles and type or battery required.

In Canada, most of our electricity is generated by low-emitting hydro and nuclear sources. EV ownership can help reduce personal vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90%1. This can also result in saving thousands of dollars a year on gas.

Even more savings

As a resident of Canada, you may be eligible for the Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program, which offers up to $5,000 off the purchase or lease of an EV. The Government of Canada updates the list of eligible vehicles whenever a new make and model is approved, so make sure you check it out to see if you qualify!

Some provinces and territories offer incentives to encourage EV ownership. To find out about the benefits that are offered where you live, here is a great breakdown provided by CanadaDrives.ca3.  

Have questions about your car insurance policy? Call 877-976-7248 to discuss hybrid or EV rates with an Orbit insurance broker. If you’re in the market for car insurance, you can call 877-976-7248 to get a quote.

  1. Plug ‘n Drive
  2. GreenCars
  3. Canada Drives