Summary of EV Introductory Guide

author: Dave Carley, EV Ambassador – date published: August 2014 (Updated May 2017)
EV-Beginners-Guide_covVisit the Resources section to download the full pdf of the guide.

  1. Why Electric Vehicles?
  2. How far can I drive before I have to recharge?
  3. What are the differences between EVs and Hybrids?
  4. What Electric Vehicle best fits your needs?
  5. How do you charge your EV?
  6. Public Charging Stations in BC
  7. Mobile Apps for your EV

1. Why Electric Vehicles?

There are many reasons why people are moving to Electric Vehicles (EV) to get them to the places they need to be. These include:

  • EVs are fun to drive because they are fast and smooth.
  • The emissions from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline produce harmful greenhouse gases.
  • EVs produce no smelly fumes or harmful greenhouse gases.
  • EVs are innovative and cool.
  • EVs cost as little as $320 a year to fuel compared to $2,400 for a gasoline vehicle (using BC prices and average driving assumptions)
  • EVs are a smart and convenient choice.

2. How far can I drive before I have to recharge?

The first question many ask is how far an EV travels before it needs to be recharged. Start by asking yourself, when was the last time you ran out of gas in your vehicle? For most people the answer is never, because they watch the fuel gauge and fill up their tank when it is almost empty.

rangemapIt’s the same with an EV. You can pull into one of the 1,000+ Level 2 public charging stations to “top up” or plug your car in each night at home just like you do with your cell phone and always leave home with a full battery.

The average daily drive in BC’s urban regions is 30km and all electric vehicles today can drive at least 100km’s before needing to be recharged which is illustrated on the map.

If you need more there are some Battery Electric Vehicles that can drive up to 540km or you could look at a hybrid vehicle which also has a gasoline engine that can be used once the battery runs out.

 3. What is the difference between an Electric Vehicle and a Hybrid?

There are two types of electric vehicle:

  1. Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
  2. Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

A special note on Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV).  This website considers electric vehicles (EVs ones that can plug in; therefore HEVs are not considered EVs here, they are simply “hybrids”

Each are described in more detail in the EV Introductory Guide.

4. What Electric Vehicle best fits your needs?

With over 30 electric vehicle models available in Canada there is a good chance there is one that meets your requirements.

Download (PDF, 3.55MB)

5. How do you charge your EV?

Now that you have chosen the EV that best fits your needs, how do you charge it up?

Make the Transition to Electric

BC Hydro can assist you in making a smooth transition to driving a cleaner vehicle. Visit bchydro.com for more information on electric vehicles in BC.

It’s as easy as charging your phone and can be done in the comfort of your home or at the 1,000+ public Level 2 charging stations in BC plus more in the US.

  • It’s easy to charge every night so EV drivers don’t need as much one-time range as a typical gas-engine car driver who may refuel once a week or once a month.
  • When you charge at home you can always leave with a full battery.
  • With more than 1,000 public Level 2 EV charging stations and 30 DC fast chargers in BC there is a good chance you can charge your EV while you are at work, shopping, at the movies, at the mall, at the doctor or dentist, etc so you can probably drive further than you think.

EVs will also charge themselves whenever you brake or go downhill so sometimes you will have more range available at the bottom of the hill than you did at the top.

There are a couple of different types of charges each with different times it takes to charge your EV, download a pdf of the EV Introductory Guide to view a table providing more details.

6. Public Charging Stations in BC

With over 1,000 public Level 2 charging stations (in green) and 30 DC fast charging stations (in orange) there is bound to be somewhere you can top up while you are shopping, going to the movies, at work, grabbing a bite to eat.  You can see from the map below courtesy of www.PlugShare.com that there are plenty of places for you to be able to charge while on the go plus give you the ability to do some super fun road trips!



While the majority of Level 2 (208V/240v – SAE J1772 plug) public charging stations are free to use, many require drivers to join a service network to access the stations. Members are offered various ways to authorize the use of a charging station, such as scanning a member card at the desired charging station. EV owners can obtain a member card by registering online with the charging service networks. Some networks’ stations can also be authorized through a smart phone app or a credit card. There are currently three predominant networks in BC: ChargePoint, Flo Network, and GreenLots (for DC Fast Chargers). Learn more about service networks and membership options in BC.

7. Mobile Apps for your EV

Many EVs today are technically advanced and have mobile apps that can provide you with information on your car such as how far you can drive given your current battery charge and even allow you to control your car like locking the doors or pre-heating your car on a winter day. Download a pdf of the EV Introductory Guide for specific examples of mobile apps.