This page contains a list of available plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for Canada, and a preview for any that have been confirmed as coming to Canada within the coming year. The PHEV/BEV market is still quite young in Canada, and some manufacturer’s are selling many more vehicles than others. The ‘modern’ era of EV/PHEVs began circa 2010, so a number of the vehicles below (in particular the Leaf and Volt) can be found used now. Here is the report for 2015 sales in Canada and 2016 sales.
In the West Kootenay’s, I am aware of
2 5 Nissan LEAFs (total including mine; 1 more joined the crowd in 2016, and 2 more in early 2017!), several Volts, 2 Model S, and one Smart fortwo ED.
2017 appears to be the year of longer-range EVs; numerous models are joining the market around 200 km of range, and one new car has set a high bar, the Chevy Bolt with over 380 km of range!
I have driven a number of these vehicles on the list – feel free to ask me directly for further impressions if you wish (including the LEAF, Model S, Volt and C-Max).
Last updated February 2017 (added 2016 sales report, added VW e-Golf [new] Kia Niro PHEV [coming soon], updated info on IONIQ, Bolt, Tesla, Pacifica, Prius PRIME).
This page used to be just a list of cars, but now that we have so many available in Canada now, I’ve added a table at the beginning of each section with some very basic stats to provide a summary.
|Brand/Model||Electric Range (km) 1||Fast Charging? 2|
|BMW i3 (2016 & earlier)||130||CCS|
|BMW i3 (2017)||183||CCS|
|Chevrolet Bolt (2017)||383||CCS|
|Ford Focus Electric (2016 & earlier)||122||N/A|
|Ford Focus Electric (2017)||185||CCS|
|Kia Soul EV (all years)||150||CHAdeMO|
|Mitsubishi i-MiEV (all years)||95||CHAdeMO|
|Nissan Leaf (2015 & earlier, 2016 S)||135||CHAdeMO|
|Nissan Leaf (2016 SV & SL, all 2017 models)||172||CHAdeMO|
|Smart fortwo electric drive||109||N/A|
|Tesla Model S 3||335 – 507||Supercharger|
|Tesla Model X 3||321 – 465||Supercharger|
1 – the combined cycle (highway/city) electric only range as shown on the EPA’s FuelEconomy.gov website
2 – CHAdeMO, CCS and Superchargers are NOT interchangeable. However, many DCFC are dual-standard CHAdeMO/CCS; and for a Tesla, you can buy a CHAdeMO adapter. Go to my Charging page for more details and a video showing what a fast charger looks like, how to use it, and how long it might take.
3 – There are too many Tesla battery pack size variants to track here! So I’ve given the lowest and highest range available.
* – Estimated! Car is about to be released and hasn’t been rated by the EPA yet.
The Tesla Model 3 has not been included in the table yet because I (and the internet) do not expect to see any in Canada until 2018 sometime.
A bit more detail on each model is below:
BMW i3 – released mid-2014 in Canada, BMW put a lot of effort into lightening the vehicle to improve the efficiency. It also comes in a “range extender” version, which incorporates a small gasoline motor in the trunk area that is hooked to a generator.
Aug 2016 update: BMW has upgraded the battery by about 50%; range is up about the same. The 2017 model with improved range is not quite yet available in Canada as of this update.
Chevrolet Bolt – this car was announced as a concept at the Detroit auto show in early 2015, then later in 2015, due to strong interest, Chevrolet confirmed it was heading to production. In January of 2016, Chevy previewed the production version and stated that production would start in late 2016! (Which they did, first deliveries in the US in December 2016.) That is very fast from concept to implementation!
So why all the excitement? Well, it was the first car to be released of the 2nd generation of modern EVs – it has 230+ miles of range (380+ km), and the selling price is $43,000 (previously this type of range was only available on the Model S, with a current entry price of $92,500 new, or $65,000 used). It is about the same size as a Leaf, but looks more conventional. They are also showcasing some interesting technology inside the car as well. If I were shopping for a new car now, this one would surely be on my list!
Now available in Canada!
Ford Focus EV – Based on the regular Focus, I have never seen one ‘in the wild’. From all accounts it is a nice refined car (if you can get over the battery intrusion into the trunk space),
but it does not include fast-charging, a mistake in my opinion. and the 2017 now includes CCS fast charging – more here. Still no redesign of the car yet.
Kia Soul EV – released at the end of 2014, this vehicle has many of the features of the LEAF with a now similar
slightly longer range. A great blog post to read on the differences between the Leaf and the Soul EV can be read here. If this car had been available early 2014, I definitely would have compared against my Leaf.
Hyundai IONIQ – this vehicle is a lift-back design similar to the Prius and is a direct competitor to Toyota. The hybrid version beats the Prius for economy, but the real kicker is that the exact same car in EV form is more than twice as efficient! It will be offered in a regular hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric only version. Availability of the EV is imminent in Canada, at least that is my impression based on this very recent review in Kelowna. It shares underpinnings with the Kia Niro, a sibling CUV that will be released as a hybrid and PHEV soon, but I suspect also as an EV in 2018.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV – another small city car, much-loved by the people who own it. It is RWD, seats 4, an EPA range of 100km, and has a tight turning radius. Two long-term reviews are here and here. You can find them used at a quite reasonable price now – I’ve seen them as low as $15k, which is pretty darn competitive if all you are looking for is a city runabout or a relatively short commute!
Nissan LEAF – The LEAF has been available since December of 2010, though you could only really find it at dealerships in Canada starting late 2014. One of the top 3 sellers to-date in Canada, the most sold worldwide, and the car that I personally chose to purchase in May 2014.
You can watch a video I made that discusses a number of topics about the Leaf, including why I bought it, how it drives, and many other items. It runs about 35 minutes and was taken during a regular commute to work. The video description includes timestamps of different topics if you want to jump around. This post shows how versatile the car can be if you are willing.
You can now find used models in the mid 20’s down to the mid teens. For our region, I would advise to purchase a 2013 model year or later (SV or SL trim), as at this point they included a higher power Level 2 on-board charger (6.6 vs 3.3 kW) and a heat-pump that uses less energy in the winter. If you aren’t worried about range and are just looking for an around-town car, a 2011 or 2012 should work just fine, though only the 2012’s included heated seats and steering wheel.
The 2016 models have been released, and they will have a 30 kWh battery, so if you need that extra range (up to 172 km of EPA range rather than 135 km), you now have the option! 2017 brought the 30 kWh battery straight across the range. I continue to anticipate an announcement in the next several months of the longer-range 2018 Leaf – but we won’t hear about it until just before the car arrives in dealerships so as to not damage current sales.
Here is a video review of the increased range, done in the southern mountains of France near Nice, by the “Fully Charged” show – have a watch, even if just for the scenery!
smart fortwo ED – a great small city car that seats 2. Short range, but it is intended as a city/suburban vehicle, and it works well for that purpose.
Tesla Model S – the Model S became available in late 2012 and was updated with an all-wheel drive (AWD) version in late 2014. Despite the price tag, this car is also one of the top 3 sellers in Canada, probably due to the much longer range these cars have (370 to > 500 km), depending on the battery pack chosen).
Another very important item to point out, common to all Tesla’s, is the “ecosystem” around the car – Tesla is a dedicated electric-only manufacturer, and is new, so have been able to do things differently than the regular car makers. This includes the ability to update your car “over the air” via an included cellular connection (or WiFi near your home), which has brought substantial updates to the car in the past. A major item that has set them apart is the Supercharger network, which is distributed across North America, Europe, and other parts of the world and allows these cars to truly replace a gasmobile for ALL of your driving, not just city driving. If funds allowed, we would absolutely be driving a Tesla to help support them on their mission (the next step being the Model 3, which should arrive in Canada next year and disrupt the auto-market as we know it!)
Tesla Model X – the much anticipated successor to the Model S, the X was officially released in September 2015, although production cars did not start shipping until December 2015. Essentially it is a taller S that seats 7. It has AWD (called Dual Drive in Tesla lexicon) and the ability to tow up to 5,000 lbs. The big unknown on this vehicle will be the falcon doors, similar to a gull-wing, but with a double-hinge to minimize the protrusion to the sides while the door is opening. The unknown of course is how reliable they will be, and for us in the Koots, whether they can cope with our snow! (Hey @TeslaMotors, I’ll gladly test that out for you…)
Volkswagen e-Golf – the e-Golf has been available in a number of countries for a few years now, but G&M notes that in mid-2017, we will now be able to get the refreshed version in Canada! Quick stats, 35 kWh battery, 200 km EPA range, ~135 hp, and ~215 ft/lb torque. Should be a fun car and very suitable for many people. It sells like hotcakes in Norway, coming close to outselling the gasoline model.
|Brand/Model||Electric Range (km) 1||ICE Fuel Economy (L/100km) 2|
|Audi A3 etron||25||6.7|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||22||9.8|
|Chevrolet Volt (2015 & earlier)||61||6.4|
|Chevrolet Volt (2016 & newer)||85||5.6|
|Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid||52||7.4 (for a van!!)|
|Ford C-Max Energi||32||6.2|
|Ford Fusion Energi||32||6.2|
|Hyundai Sonata PHEV||43||6.0|
|Hyundai IONIQ PHEV||40 *||~ 5 *|
|Kia Niro PHEV||*||~ 5 *|
|Toyota Prius PHEV (2015 & earlier)||17||4.7|
|Toyota Prius PRIME (2017)||40||4.4|
|Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV||22||9.4|
1 – the combined cycle (highway/city) electric only range as shown on the EPA’s FuelEconomy.gov websiteNotes
2 – the combined cycle fuel consumption when running the gasoline engine as shown on the EPA’s website
* – Estimated! Car is about to be released and hasn’t been rated by the EPA yet.
In general, I think the PHEV sweet-spot is when you get over a 40 km range, as this allows you to do the vast majority of your daily driving without the gas engine kicking in. For one-car families, they make a lot of sense!
Audi A3 Sportback etron – now available in Canada (fall 2016). This car looks great is very competitively priced with the gasoline version of the sedan (only $200 more!) Most importantly, it’s a wagon 😉 If we were looking to replace our Forester right now, this car would up for serious consideration.
BMW 330e – coming soon in Canada (fall 2016). BMW is starting to offer a PHEV variant in each of it’s “series”; expect to see one or two added each year. Sorry I can’t provide a link right to it, you need to dig around on their Build & Price sub-site to find it.
BMW X5 DriveE40 – now available in Canada (summer 2016). A larger SUV, with a relatively limited all-electric range of about 20 km. Sorry I can’t provide a link right to it, you need to dig around on their Build & Price sub-site to find it.
Chevrolet Volt – the Volt has been available for about the same amount of time as the Leaf, and is the other vehicle of the top 3 sellers to-date in Canada. It will travel a maximum of 60 – 80 km before the gasoline engine kicks in. Many users report greater than 80% of their mileage has been done in EV mode. The Volt has been redesigned and the 2016 model is now available.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – the ‘inventor’ of the mini-van and ‘Stow n Go’ seats has another first for their list, the first PHEV mini-van available in North America. This vehicle looks quite decent, it has a good sized battery pack for about 40 – 50 km of all electric range, and will stay on electric motors only up to 120 km/h. Here is a good preview article.
Ford C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi – both of these models will get you about 30km of travel on EV mode, but if you need cabin heat, or push your foot too far on the accelerator, the gas engine will kick-in.
Hyundai Sonata PHEV – available in Canada in 2016, a mid-size sedan. A much nicer design and packaging then the Ford offerings. Annoyingly you can only get it in the highest trim, which inflates the price (which is unfortunately the norm, not the exception at this point). Summary review here.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – this vehicle is not available in Canada yet, but is slated for a
late 2015 spring late 2016 mid 2017 release (update: official preview at the 2016 New York auto show; links here, here and here. Update 2: it has been delayed again, now slated to arrive mid-2017 [if ever!]). It has been available for a few several years now in Japan, parts of Europe, and Australia/New Zealand. I have no idea why it wasn’t released in North America at the same time, as clearly it would have sold like hotcakes given the popularity of CUV/SUV type vehicles in the US and Canada. Maybe the Outlander PHEV will displace the Subaru as the ‘car of the Kootenays’!! Up to 50km of all electric range combined with a 4WD system, what’s not to like?
Toyota Prius PHEV – Some may wonder why I did not include the Toyota Prius Plug-in version (2015 & earlier) – I didn’t include it because I do not think it qualifies as a PHEV. It can only drive a few kilometres on electricity only, and that only if you drive it gently, which does not make it useful in my opinion. A PHEV should be able to run almost entirely on electricity only for your daily commute, or else the economics do not work out well (in general).
Toyota Prius PRIME – Update on the above in May 2016: Toyota has announced a new variant of Prius – the Prime. This is a much more capable plug-in hybrid than the first gen Prius PHEV –
you can actually drive on JUST electricity (which is kinda the point of a PHEV!) update: apparently Toyota still hasn’t really sorted out what a PHEV really can be… car still turns on the ICE at random times in anything other than fair weather (e.g. 20C).
It has a range of about 40 km, and when you run out of electricity, it will sip at about 4.4 L/100 km. Given the strong brand of Toyota, this car should sell well. A good preview article at Motor Trend. Should arrive in Canada sometime in 2017. Early sales in the US have been very good, with 20% of all Prii sold as a PHEV Prime (and that with limited availability still!)
Unfortunately Toyota has burned a good chunk of their early-mover advantage and continues to do bizarre things to shoot themselves in the foot. One would think they would prefer not to sell PHEVs and EVs… (personally they have done and said enough against EVs that I probably won’t buy one from them, even though they generally make good cars.)