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 Bolts, 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, Bolt, Volt and C-Max).
Last updated November 2017 (added whether each car is 4-wheel drive, all wheel drive, front wheel drive or rear wheel drive, added whether there is a dealer in the Kootenays (if i’ve missed any, please let me know!]).
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.
|Electric Range (km) 1||Fast Charging? 2||Price Range3 (thousands of $)||AWD/
|Dealer in the Koots?4|
|BMW i3 (2014 – 2016)||130||CCS||$24 – 45||RWD||No|
|BMW i3 (2017)||183||CCS||$53 – 58||RWD||No|
|Chevrolet Bolt (2017)||383||CCS||$45 – 50||FWD||Yes|
|Ford Focus Electric (2012 – 2016)||122||N/A||$15 – 25||FWD||No|
|Ford Focus Electric (2017)||185||CCS||$32 – 34||FWD||No|
|Kia Soul EV (2014 – 2017)||150||CHAdeMO||$22 – 30 used $37 – 41 new||FWD||No|
|Hyundai IONIQ||200||CCS||$35 – 42||FWD||No|
|Mitsubishi i-MiEV (2011 – 2016)||95||CHAdeMO||$10 – 20 used||RWD||No|
|Nissan Leaf (2011 to 2015, 2016 S)||135||CHAdeMO||$10 – 25||FWD||No|
|Nissan Leaf (2016 SV & SL, all 2017 models)||172||CHAdeMO||$28 – 32 used $33 – 38 new||FWD||No|
|Nissan Leaf (2018)||240||CHAdeMO||$36 and up||FWD||No|
|Smart fortwo electric drive||109||N/A||$8 – 20 used $30 – 33 new||RWD||No|
|Tesla Model 3 5||350 – 500*||Supercharger||TBA ($35 and up USD)||RWD||Sorta|
|Volkswagen e-Golf||201||CCS||$25 – 30 used $36 new||FWD||No|
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 – For new cars, MSRP price. For used cars, a quick snapshot from AutoTraders.ca.
4 – if there is no dealer in the Kootenays, the closest is usually Kelowna
5 – There are too many Tesla battery pack size variants to track here! So I’ve given the lowest and highest range available. First variant is RWD only, sometime in 2018 they will introduce a 4WD variant.
* – Estimated! Car is about to be released and hasn’t been rated by the EPA yet.
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.
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!
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 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 $9k, which is pretty darn competitive if all you are looking for is a city runabout or for 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 low 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 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.
Here is a video review of the increased range for the 2016 model, done in the southern mountains of France near Nice, by the “Fully Charged” show – have a watch, even if just for the scenery!
The 2018 Nissan Leaf has been announced! (Sep 2017). Now with a 40 kWh battery, 240 km range, and ProPilot (Nissan’s first phase of autonomous driving). A nice upgrade over the previous version, for about the same price. Review by Motor Trend here.
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 3 – the newest car in the Tesla lineup, a smaller sedan then the Tesla Model S, and less luxurious, but the second long-range car to become available that is more affordable (similar to the Bolt) – and it has brand cachet, which should disrupt the auto-market as we know it! First deliveries in Canada are estimated to be in the first half of 2018.
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.
Volkswagen e-Golf – the e-Golf has been available in a number of countries for a few years now, but the 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.
|Electric Range (km) 1||ICE Fuel Economy (L/100km) 2||Price Range (thousands of $)||AWD/
|Dealer in the Koots?3|
|Audi A3 etron||25||6.7||$40 – 45||FWD||No|
|Chevrolet Volt (2015 & earlier)||61||6.4||$15 – 29||FWD||Yes|
|Chevrolet Volt (2016 & newer)||85||5.6||$29 – 40 used $39 – 42 new||FWD||Yes|
|Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid||52||7.4 (for a van!!)||$57||FWD||Yes, Nelson|
|Ford C-Max Energi||32||6.2||$16 – 30 used $32 – 36 new||FWD||No|
|Ford Fusion Energi||32||6.2||$17 – 30 used $37 – 46 new||FWD||No|
|Honda Clarity PHEV||65 *||5 *||TBA||FWD||No|
|Hyundai Sonata PHEV||43||6.0||$44||FWD||No|
|Hyundai IONIQ PHEV||40 *||5 *||$24 – 32||FWD||No|
|Kia Niro PHEV||35 *||~ 6 *||TBA||FWD?||No|
|Kia Optima PHEV||46||5.9||$44.5 – 48||FWD||No|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||50 *||~ 6 *||TBA||AWD/4WD||No|
|Toyota Prius PHEV (2015 & earlier)||17||4.7||basically unavailable||FWD||Yes|
|Toyota Prius PRIME (2017)||40||4.4||$33 – 35||FWD||Yes|
The incentive program in BC, CEV for BC, gives a $2,500 rebate for vehicles under $77,000. See program page for details.
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
3 – if there is no dealer in the Kootenays, the closest is usually Kelowna
* – 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 and 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.
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.
Honda Clarity PHEV – should be available late 2017 or early 2018. A purpose designed mid-size sedan, in some areas you can get it as a full BEV, but in Canada we will only get the PHEV version. Good range for a PHEV, but Honda hasn’t been very aggressive with selling their previous hybrids. We’ll see in a year how well this car is doing.
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 early 2018 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!]) Update 3: finally it is arriving! End of December in the US, should be in Canada early 2018. 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 engine 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.)