Car Deal Canada

How Much It Costs To Charge An Electric Car

How Much It Costs To Charge An Electric Car

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more and more popular in Canada. With rebates and incentives helping to lower the upfront costs of purchasing an EV, many Canadians are now considering making the switch. However, one question that still comes up frequently is how much it actually costs to charge an electric vehicle.


Unlike gas cars that need to be refueled at gas stations, EV owners typically charge their vehicles at home. But charging does not come free – there is still an energy cost associated with it. This cost can vary quite a bit depending on factors like where you live, time of day, and type of charger used.


In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the costs associated with charging an electric vehicle in Canada. We’ll look at average electricity rates by province, estimates for home and public charging costs, ways to manage and reduce charging expenses, the impact of battery size, and more. Whether you currently own an EV or are thinking about getting one, this guide will provide key information to help you understand and estimate charging costs.

Get Pre-Qualified in Under 60 Seconds

All Credit Approved and 0 Money Down Options Available

 

Average Electricity Rates By Province

The cost to charge an electric vehicle in Canada can vary significantly depending on which province you live in. This is because the residential electricity rates charged by utilities differ across the country. Below is an overview of the average residential electricity rates by province and territory as of 2022:

 

  • British Columbia – $0.126 per kWh
  • Alberta – $0.16 per kWh
  • Saskatchewan – $0.124 per kWh
  • Manitoba – $0.086 per kWh
  • Ontario – $0.157 per kWh
  • Quebec – $0.073 per kWh
  • New Brunswick – $0.137 per kWh
  • Nova Scotia – $0.174 per kWh
  • Prince Edward Island – $0.164 per kWh
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – $0.134 per kWh
  • Yukon – $0.215 per kWh
  • Northwest Territories – $0.228 per kWh
  • Nunavut – $0.415 per kWh

 

As you can see, there is significant variation across Canada. Quebec has the lowest average residential electricity rates while Nunavut has the highest. These rates directly impact what an EV owner will pay to charge their vehicle at home. Areas with higher electricity costs per kWh will result in higher charging costs to fill up an EV’s battery.

 

Charging at Home – Cost Estimates

Charging an electric vehicle at home is the most convenient and often the cheapest option. Home charging typically uses a Level 2 charger, which can fully recharge an EV battery overnight.

The cost to charge at home depends on your electricity rate per kWh (kilowatt-hour). The average residential electricity rate in Canada is around $0.20 per kWh. However, many provinces offer special EV rates around $0.10-$0.15 per kWh to encourage home charging.

For example, charging a Long Range Tesla Model 3 with a 75 kWh battery from empty to full at $0.20 per kWh would cost approximately:

 

  • 75 kWh battery size
  • $0.20 per kWh electricity rate
  • 75 kWh * $0.20 per kWh = $15.00 to fully charge

 

With an off-peak EV rate of $0.12 per kWh, the cost would only be $9.00 to charge the 75 kWh battery. Most EV owners charge overnight when rates are lowest.

Charging a non-Tesla EV with a 50 kWh battery at $0.15 per kWh would cost about $7.50 for a full charge. Costs ultimately depend on battery size and electricity rates.

 

Public Charging Stations

Public charging stations allow EV drivers to charge their vehicles when they are away from home. There are a few different types of public charging stations in Canada:

 

Level 2 Charging Stations

Level 2 charging stations provide charging speeds that are faster than a regular wall outlet at home but slower than fast charging. They typically charge at 6-19 kW power levels. Level 2 stations are commonly found at malls, hotels, some workplaces, etc. The cost to charge at a Level 2 station is usually $1-2 per hour of charging time.

For a full charge of a 54 kWh battery from empty, charging at 6 kW would take around 9 hours and cost about $9-18 at Level 2 stations.

 

DC Fast Charging Stations

DC fast charging stations provide the fastest charging speeds through direct current (DC) power. These stations can charge an EV battery up to 80% in around 30 minutes. However, fees at fast charging stations are higher. The average cost is $0.30-0.50 per kWh.

That means a full 54 kWh charge at a DC fast charging station would cost about $16-27. Costs may also be charged per minute of charging time.

Tesla Superchargers, Petro-Canada stations, Electrify Canada, and FLO are some of the major DC fast charging networks in Canada.

 

Charging Speed and Cost

The speed at which an EV charges can have a significant impact on charging costs, especially when using public direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations. There are a few key factors that determine charging speed:

 

  • Charger power output – Measured in kilowatts (kW). Higher power outputs deliver faster charge times.
  • Battery size – Larger battery capacities take longer to charge.
  • Battery chemistry – Some EV batteries can handle faster charge rates than others before degrading.
  • State of charge – Charging slows down as the battery reaches higher states of charge.

 

With DCFC stations, charging speed directly correlates with charging costs. These stations typically have per-minute fees that range from $0.25-$0.50 per minute depending on the maximum power output. A 50 kW station will have lower per-minute rates compared to a 350 kW station.

This means an EV with a smaller battery will be able to charge faster on a DCFC station and incur lower fees. For example, charging a 40 kWh Nissan LEAF to 80% may take 20 minutes and cost $5-10 whereas charging an 85 kWh Tesla Model S to 80% may take 45 minutes and cost $11-23.

Understanding how charging speed impacts costs can help EV owners be strategic in their public charging habits to avoid high fees.

 

Peak vs. Off-Peak Charging

One way EV owners can significantly reduce their charging costs is by charging during off-peak hours. Electricity rates are often structured in time-of-use pricing models, with higher rates during peak daytime hours and lower rates overnight when overall demand on the grid is reduced.

For example, in Ontario the peak rate can be over 20 cents per kWh during the afternoon while the off-peak overnight rate is only 8.2 cents per kWh. This means charging an EV with a 50 kWh battery during peak hours would cost over $10 while charging overnight would only be around $4.

Utilities encourage EV charging to take place off-peak to help balance electrical loads. By delaying charging, EV drivers can cut their costs roughly in half while also supporting the electrical grid. Utilities may even offer special EV time-of-use plans to incentivize overnight charging.

The best way to take advantage of off-peak rates is by installing a Level 2 charger at home and setting charging to start after midnight. Public DC fast charging stations have set rates and don’t offer lower off-peak pricing. However, when planning travel routes, stopping at stations in the evening can help utilize cheaper overnight hotel charging.

Shifting charging to off-peak hours requires some planning but is one of the most effective ways to reduce the costs of powering an EV in Canada. Smart charging habits allow drivers to save money while supporting the transition to a more sustainable electrical grid.

 

Charging Costs By Province

Charging costs for electric vehicles can vary significantly across Canada depending on which province you live in. This is primarily driven by differences in residential and commercial electricity rates across provinces. Here is a breakdown of estimated charging costs by province:

 

British Columbia

Average residential rate: $0.126/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $7.56

DC fast charging cost: $0.31-0.50/kWh

 

Alberta

Average residential rate: $0.162/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $9.72

DC fast charging cost: $0.32-0.54/kWh

 

Saskatchewan

Average residential rate: $0.124/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $7.44

DC fast charging cost: $0.31-0.50/kWh

 

Manitoba

Average residential rate: $0.086/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $5.16

DC fast charging cost: $0.26-0.43/kWh

 

Ontario

Average residential rate: $0.157/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $9.42

DC fast charging cost: $0.31-0.47/kWh

 

Quebec

Average residential rate: $0.079/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $4.74

DC fast charging cost: $0.24-0.40/kWh

 

New Brunswick

Average residential rate: $0.137/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $8.22

DC fast charging cost: $0.27-0.41/kWh

 

Nova Scotia

Average residential rate: $0.148/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $8.88

DC fast charging cost: $0.30-0.45/kWh

 

Prince Edward Island

Average residential rate: $0.165/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $9.90

DC fast charging cost: $0.33-0.50/kWh

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

Average residential rate: $0.122/kWh

Charging cost for 60kWh battery: $7.32

DC fast charging cost: $0.30-0.49/kWh

 

As you can see, electricity rates and resulting charging costs can vary significantly across Canada. Quebec has the lowest average residential rate, while PEI has the highest. This means EV drivers in Quebec can expect to pay almost 50% less to charge their vehicle compared to PEI. Understanding local electricity rates is key for estimating your potential charging costs.

 

Managing and Reducing Costs

There are several ways EV owners can manage and reduce the costs associated with charging their vehicle:

 

Charge During Off-Peak Hours

Electricity rates are often lower during off-peak hours late at night and early morning. Setting charging to start after midnight can take advantage of lower rates and cut costs significantly.

 

Enroll in Public Charging Loyalty Programs

Most public charging networks offer membership plans that provide lower charging rates, discounts, and other benefits. Enrolling can help reduce costs at public stations.

 

Negotiate Workplace Charging Benefits

Asking employers to install EV charging stations and provide subsidized charging can eliminate costs during working hours.

 

Use Solar Power

Installing solar panels allows EV owners to fuel their car with self-generated sunlight. This eliminates grid-based charging costs entirely.

 

Slow Charging Over Fast Charging

Slow Level 2 charging is more efficient and costs less per hour than fast DC charging. Using slower charging when feasible optimizes costs.

 

Preconditioning

Warming or cooling the EV cabin while plugged in reduces battery drain from climate control while driving, allowing more miles per charge.

 

Low Acceleration

Gentle acceleration maximizes driving range, allowing EV drivers to charge less often to travel the same distances.

 

Charging Cost Calculators

There are a number of helpful online tools and calculators that can estimate the costs of charging an electric vehicle based on your location, electricity rates, vehicle model, and other factors. These tools allow EV drivers to get a better sense of their potential charging costs before purchasing or switching to an electric vehicle.

Some popular EV charging cost calculators include:

 

  • EnergySage – Their calculator lets you input your vehicle make and model, location, and charging scenarios to estimate costs. It also shows comparisons to gas vehicles.
  • ChargeHub – This calculator accounts for time-of-use rates and provides cost estimates for home, work, and public charging.
  • PlugStar – Their tool gives a breakdown of costs by province and territory based on average rates and typical EV battery sizes.
  • Natural Resources Canada – The government’s calculator gives quick estimates based on battery size and electricity rates.
  • Chargepoint – For Chargepoint members, their calculator uses your actual electricity rate and charging data to give personalized estimates.

 

These calculators allow you to input your specific parameters to get cost estimates tailored to your situation. They can help take the guesswork out of determining the costs of powering an EV in your area. Many also provide tips on managing costs through off-peak charging, solar power, and maximizing workplace or public charging.

 

Impact of Battery Size

The size of an electric vehicle’s battery pack is a major factor in determining charging costs. Electric vehicles available today typically have battery packs ranging from around 40 kWh on the low end up to 100 kWh or more for long-range EVs. The larger the battery, the more energy required to charge it, and thus the higher the charging costs.

For example, the 2022 Nissan Leaf has a 40 kWh battery pack, while the Tesla Model S has battery options from 75 kWh up to 100 kWh. Charging the 40 kWh Leaf battery from empty to full would require about 40 kWh of electricity. The 75 kWh Model S would need 75 kWh to fully charge. If electricity costs $0.15 per kWh, it would cost around $6 to charge the Leaf and $11.25 for the Model S.

The cost difference becomes even more apparent for vehicles with larger 100+ kWh battery packs. The GMC Hummer EV has a massive 200 kWh battery, which would cost over $30 to fully charge from 0% to 100%. The Rivian R1T pickup truck has battery sizes from 135 kWh up to 180 kWh.

So while EVs can generally charge for lower costs than gas vehicles, the size of the battery pack makes a significant difference. Compact EVs with smaller batteries will be less expensive to charge than larger luxury EVs with big batteries. Understanding battery capacity is important for estimating potential charging costs.

 

Electricity Rate Trends

The cost to charge an electric vehicle is heavily dependent on electricity rates. In recent years, electricity rates in Canada have been on an upward trend, causing charging costs to also rise.

According to Statistics Canada, the average residential electricity rate increased by over 20% between 2010 and 2020, from 11.3 cents per kWh to 13.7 cents per kWh. Commercial rates also rose during this period, up from 9.9 cents to 11.3 cents per kWh.

Multiple factors have contributed to increasing electricity costs in Canada:

 

  • Investments in electricity infrastructure upgrades such as smart grids and renewable energy projects
  • Higher operating costs for utilities
  • Increased provincial and federal carbon pricing

 

Looking ahead, most projections expect electricity rates to continue climbing over the next 5-10 years. Canada’s transition away from coal power and expanded electrification across the economy will require major investments in new generation capacity.

For example, Canada’s National Energy Board predicts the average industrial electricity rate could reach 15 cents per kWh by 2040 under a high carbon price scenario. Higher rates would further increase EV charging costs for Canadian drivers.

To mitigate the impact of rising rates, EV owners can shift more of their charging to overnight hours when time-of-use rates are lower. Installing rooftop solar panels also provides a way to power an EV with self-generated renewable electricity.

 

Public Charging Developments

The expansion of public charging stations across Canada has been accelerating rapidly in recent years. Major investments by both government and private industry are helping to build out a robust fast charging network to enable long distance EV travel.

The federal government has committed $680 million to install up to 5,000 additional public chargers along the Trans Canada Highway, as well as in remote and rural locations. Efforts are focused on ensuring chargers are no more than 150 km apart to alleviate range anxiety.

Provinces like Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia have also introduced plans to deploy thousands of additional public chargers over the next 5 years. Quebec alone aims to reach 16,000 public chargers by 2028.

Private charging networks like Flo, Petro-Canada and ChargePoint are racing to expand their fast charging coverage. Petro-Canada plans to install over 50 charging sites from coast to coast. Flo aims to operate over 500 charging stations in Canada by 2025.

Tesla continues expanding its proprietary Supercharger network, which can deliver up to 250 kW for rapid charging. There are now over 60 Supercharger stations in 7 provinces.

Improved reliability, faster charging speeds, expanded payment options and loyalty programs are also making public charging more convenient and accessible.

 

Workplace Charging Considerations

Charging your electric vehicle while at work can be a convenient and affordable option. Many employers are now offering workplace charging to employees as an incentive and benefit. Here are some key things to consider around costs and incentives when it comes to EV charging at work:

 

Cost – Most employers that provide workplace charging do so for free or at highly discounted rates for employees. Some may charge a small hourly fee to cover electricity costs. Overall, charging at work will be significantly cheaper than public charging stations. Many employers see it as an employee retention incentive.

Charging Speed – Workplace chargers are generally Level 2 stations that provide slower charging speeds. This allows you to charge your EV throughout the workday. Fully recharging will take 4-8 hours depending on your battery size.

Reimbursements – Some employers will provide partial reimbursements to employees who pay for public charging or home charging station installation. Check with your company’s benefits department.

Pre-Tax Benefits – Charging your EV at work can allow you to pay for the electricity with pre-tax income through commuter benefits programs. This reduces costs by 25-40%.

Charging Etiquette – Be mindful of other employees also needing to charge. Avoid unplugging others early or overstaying past a full charge. Follow any charging station rules set by your employer.

 

Overall, workplace charging allows EV drivers to reduce their charging costs while at work. Check with your employer to see what EV charging options and incentives may be available to utilize.

 

Solar Powered Charging

One way EV owners can potentially reduce their charging costs is by using solar energy to power their electric vehicle. Installing solar panels on your home allows you to generate electricity from sunlight during the daytime hours. This solar electricity can then be used to charge your EV battery overnight or whenever needed.

The amount of solar energy produced depends on factors like your region, roof space, and the size of the solar array installed. But with a properly sized system, it’s possible for solar power to offset a significant portion or even 100% of your EV charging needs.

There are a few ways to configure solar powered EV charging:

 

  • Grid-tied solar system – Solar panels connect to the grid, allowing you to draw solar power first before pulling from the grid as needed.
  • Off-grid solar + battery backup – Solar charges batteries stored onsite for EV charging anytime.
  • Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) – EV battery can store surplus solar power and feed it back to the home when needed.

 

Upfront costs for solar panels and installation can be $15,000-$30,000 depending on system size. But tax credits and incentives can help offset the costs. Over the long term, any electricity generated from solar results in savings since you avoid paying for that energy from the utility.

For EV drivers who plan to stick with electric vehicles long term, investing in solar panels can pay off over 5-10+ years. Lower charging costs from sunlight provide an excellent hedge against rising electricity rates. And it allows EV owners to be more energy independent and sustainable in their transportation.

 

Conclusion

In summary, the cost to charge an electric vehicle in Canada can vary quite a bit depending on factors like location, time of charging, battery size, and charging station type. Some key takeaways on EV charging costs include:

 

  • Charging at home costs between $0.10 – $0.20 per kWh, allowing a full charge of a typical EV battery to cost $5 – $15.
  • Public fast charging stations cost $0.30 – $0.50 per kWh, making a full charge $15 – $25.
  • Charging during off-peak overnight hours at home is the most affordable option.
  • Electricity rates vary significantly by province, impacting charging costs.
  • Larger battery capacities take more electricity to charge up, increasing costs.
  • Using a mix of home and public charging can help balance costs and convenience.
  • Solar power can allow EV owners to charge with sunlight and reduce grid dependence.

 

While EV charging costs are very low compared to gas vehicles, being aware of these factors can help Canadian drivers maximize savings as adoption of electric vehicles continues to grow across the country.

Get Approved Today

See if you qualify in under 60 seconds

Questions About How Much It Costs To Charge An Electric Car

It costs approximately $1.50 to $2.00 to fully charge an electric vehicle with a 60-80 kWh battery at home in Canada. This assumes an electricity rate of $0.15 to $0.20 per kWh, which is the average residential rate across most provinces. So if your EV has a 60 kWh battery, it would cost $9 to $12 to fully charge from empty. Charging overnight during off-peak hours when rates can be cheaper is the most cost effective.

 

The average residential electricity rate in Canada is $0.17 per kWh. However, rates vary significantly by province, from a low of $0.09 per kWh in Manitoba to $0.22 per kWh in PEI. Quebec has some of the lowest rates at around $0.07 per kWh. When charging at home, using TOU rates or an EV specific plan can save money.

Charging at a public DC fast charging station in Canada typically costs around $15-$35 for a full charge, depending on the size of the EV battery. Fast charging stations cost $0.30 to $0.50 per kWh. So for an EV with a 60 kWh battery, a full fast charge would cost $18 to $30. Costs may also have additional session, time or membership fees.

Yes, charging an electric vehicle in Canada is significantly cheaper per kilometer than gas, even when charging exclusively at fast charging stations. The eGallon, or the electric equivalent of a gallon of gas, ranges from $1 to $2 depending on province electricity rates. Compare that to $5+ for an actual gallon of gas.

It takes around 8-12 hours to fully charge most electric vehicles with standard Level 1, 120V wall outlets. Upgrading to a Level 2, 240V home charger cuts charge times down to 4-6 hours. The actual charge time depends on the maximum charging speed the EV can accept and battery size. For example, a 60 kWh battery charges faster than a 100 kWh.

British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon offer rebates up to 50% of the hardware and installation costs (max $500-$1000) for installing Level 2 home EV chargers. Other support includes interest free loans in BC and Manitoba, and tax credits in Ontario. Check with your provincial government.



In Canada, the transportation sector accounts for 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions while electricity generation is only 11%. Over 80% of Canada’s electricity comes from renewable sources like hydroelectric, nuclear and wind. EVs charged on the grid produce far fewer emissions.

Time-of-use (TOU) rates charge different electricity prices depending on demand – higher during peak daytime hours and lower overnight. All Canadian provinces offer some form of TOU rates. By charging during off-peak hours when TOU rates are cheaper, drivers can save significantly on fuel costs.

As of 2023, there are over 17,000 public electric vehicle charging stations across Canada, with the highest concentration in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Canada has one of the highest ratios globally of EV charging ports per capita thanks to investments in charging infrastructure.

The largest public fast charging networks for electric vehicles in Canada are operated by Flo, Petro-Canada, Sun Country Highway, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Tesla Superchargers and Electrify Canada. There is coverage across all provinces with continued growth expected.

Range anxiety refers to the fear EV drivers have of running out of battery charge before reaching their destination. Canada’s world-class fast charging networks allow drivers to quickly recharge, even in remote locations. Route planning apps help maximize range. More public chargers and longer range EVs also ease anxiety.

Canadian winters can reduce electric car battery range by 15 to 30%, depending on outside temperature and use of cabin heating. Range loss is temporary. Design improvements, battery thermal management systems and preheating while plugged in helps minimize range impacts.

The Tesla Model 3 is by far the top selling electric vehicle in Canada, followed by the Tesla Model Y, Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona Electric. Tesla dominated initially, but many new, more affordable models from Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Chevrolet and Ford are entering the market.



Canada has the 3rd highest rate of EV adoption globally after Norway and Iceland at over 17% of vehicles sales in 2022. Government rebates and investments in charging networks have accelerated adoption. Canada has the 3rd most chargers per capita behind only Netherlands and Norway.

British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia offer purchase rebates up to $8,000 off new EVs. The federal government also offers tax credits up to $5,000. Ontario previously had generous rebates but has since cancelled them. Prince Edward Island offers e-mobility incentives as well.



Additional costs to factor in include home charger installation if needed ($1,000-$2,000), higher insurance premiums (10-25% more) and reduced maintenance costs with fewer fluids and parts to service. Higher purchase prices for EVs will also come down over time with lower battery costs.

Vehicle-to-grid allows compatible electric cars to not just take power to charge batteries, but also return it back to the grid when plugged in. This provides storage capacity and grid stabilization. While not widely deployed yet, several V2G pilot projects are underway across Canada to evaluate benefits.



Get Approved Today

See if you qualify in under 60 seconds