A Lengthy List of Electric Vehicles Currently Available in Canada (2017)
Feel like you’ve been hearing a lot about electric cars these days? If so, you’re not alone. The number of new models available to consumers has expanded vastly in just the last few years, and the end of this growth is nowhere in sight. As electric models are becoming more available, they are also getting better—a lot better.
Range (the distance you can travel on a charge) is growing steadily longer across the board, and the creature comforts now offered in electric models easily rival those of their traditional counterparts. This kind of market abundance means that Canadians in search of an all- or partial-electric vehicle will have more to choose from than ever.
We’ll focus on two main types of electric vehicles here: BEV and PHEV. You’ll see these acronyms used in brochures and other marketing literature. They stand for Battery Electric Vehicle and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. BEV is the type you’re probably more familiar with. Electric vehicles of this type run on batteries alone, which drive electric motors that move the vehicle forward. PHEVs are similar since they’re also designed to run solely on battery power. But the range is typically much shorter, so they’re equipped with a traditional gas engine that kicks on when needed. Ultimately, when used properly, both types operate primarily as electric cars.
To cut through some potential confusion, let’s look at all of them now. Both BEVs and PHEVs are mixed in throughout the list, which is arranged alphabetically by brand.
Brands with Electric Vehicles in Canada
|Model||A3 Sportback e-tron|
|Electric Range||26 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||5 hours|
Audi only offers one electric vehicle in Canada, the A3 Sportback e-tron. This smallish 4-door hatch offers most of the luxury the German brand is known for, as well as an engaging driving experience. Its relatively short driving range is just enough for those with a brief commute to get to work and back on a single charge. Anything past that, and you’ll be relying on the gas engine for help. This electric variant of the popular A3 hatch carries 5-star safety ratings all around.
|Model||330e||740 Le xDrive||X5 xDrive40e||i3||i8|
|Electric Range||22 km||22 km||28 km||183 km||28 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||2 hours||3 hours||2.5 hours||4.5 hours||2 hours|
The popular German brand offers an impressive total of five partial- or all-electric models to Canadians. Three PHEVs are based on conventional BMW cars: the 330e, the 740 Le xDrive, and the X5 xDrive40e. The first two are a small and a large sedan, while the third is based on BMW’s larger X5 SUV. All three offer charging times falling within 2-3 hours.
Cars four and five comprise BMW’s more dedicated, i-series line. The i3 is a rather frumpy but supremely versatile hatch. The i8 is a low and wide sports car whose performance verges (in many ways) into supercar territory. As you might expect, these BMWs vary widely in price, starting from around $50,000 for the 330e and i3 models, all the way up to a whopping $150,000 for the i8 performance car—don’t expect to get much of that back in fuel savings. All cars achieve stellar safety ratings.
|Electric Range||85 km||383 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||4.5 hours||9.5 hours|
Chevy offers Canadians two electric cars, the Volt and the Bolt. You may know the Volt, which represents the brand’s wildly successful foray into a once-untested plug-in hybrid market. Newly available, the second generation of the car is improved in every way.
The Bolt is a smaller-but-taller hatchback. It’s also a BEV so there’s no gasoline motor aiding it. The Bolt travels a very impressive 383 kilometers after a full charge. You read that right. It’s a figure that gives even the most famous of electric car companies—Tesla—a run for its money. Expect a much longer charging time of 9.5 hours, which you probably won’t mind, considering the Bolt’s road-trip-worthy range. The Volt achieves 4- and 5-star safety ratings all around. The Bolt is expected to perform similarly in NHTSA tests.
|Electric Range||53 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||2 hours|
This American car company has always been famous for their minivans, so it’s fitting that the company offers the only electric minivan available to Canadians: the Pacifica PHEV. Luckily, it’s a great van that offers a useable 53-kilometer range. The Pacifica PHEV earns top safety ratings and comes in at $50,995. Considering its large size and versatile nature, that’s not a bad deal.
|Model||C-Max Energi||Focus Electric||Fusion Energi|
|Electric Range||32 km||185 km||34 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||2.5 hours||5.5 hours||2.5 hours|
The Blue Oval shows up with three electric offerings in Canada, the C-Max Energi, The Focus Electric, and the Fusion Energi. These cars are all solid offerings, but none really manages to stand out in the market. The Focus Electric’s range is impressive for the price. All three cars offer 4-5 star safety ratings.
|Model||Hyundai Sonata PHEV||Hyundai Ioniq Electric||Kia Optima PHEV||Kia Soul EV|
|Electric Range||43 km||170 km||47 km||149 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||3 hours||4.5 hours||3 hours||4.5 hours|
These two Korean giants bring a total of four electric vehicles to the Canadian market. Hyundai offers both a PHEV version of its midsize Sonata sedan and a dedicated all-electric model, the Ioniq Electric.
Kia’s Optima PHEV is a midsize option that competes directly with the Sonata PHEV, and offers an even longer range, at 47 kilometers. Also on offer is the Soul EV, another awkwardly-styled, yet versatile car. All cars achieve safety ratings of Acceptable or above.
|Model||GLE 550e||S 550e|
|Electric Range||30 km||22 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||3 hours||2.5 hours|
The third German luxury brand on this list offers Canada something special in both its GLE 550e SUV and S 550e large sedan. Much like the BMWs, these PHEVs are full of the tech and rich interior appointments expected from a luxury marque. Cost is $83,000 for the GLE 550e, and $102,600 for the wider, longer and more luxurious S 550e sedan. Expect immaculate safety scores for both models.
|Model||Mitsubishi i-MiEV*||Nissan Leaf|
|Electric Range||100 km||172 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||5 hours||4.5 hours|
*i-MiEV has been discontinued.
We’ll combine these two Japanese brands as well, for comparison’s sake. Mitsubishi had an early entry into the BEV arena with its i-MiEV. Unfortunately, it’s underwhelming. The car hasn’t come to know much popularity, since its diminutive size, lukewarm safety ratings, and poor driving characteristics have landed it at the bottom of the EV comparisons pool for quite some time. It is the cheapest vehicle on this list, however, and after charging for 5 hours musters a respectable 100-kilometer range.
Compare that to Nissan’s venerable Leaf, a much larger, more livable car that will travel 172 kilometers after just 4.5 hours of charging. This better-liked hatch is about to enter its second generation and promises to offer even more range, comfort, and refinement. The new Leaf is expected to achieve perfect 5-star safety ratings all around and should start at or near the current model’s base price of $37,398.
|Model||Cayenne S E-Hybrid||Panamera S E-Hybrid|
|Electric Range||22 km||25 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||1.5 hours||3 hours|
The final German luxury brand on our list is also known for its legendary performance. Porsche offers both its large SUV and large sedan in PHEV variants, known as the Cayenne S E-Hybrid and Panamera S E-Hybrid. As these cars prioritize driving performance above all else, don’t expect to be blown away by their electric range. But you can expect excellent safety scores from this premium brand.
|Model||Smart Fortwo ED|
|Electric Range||160 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||2.5 hours|
The Smart Fortwo ED is perfect for big city living. The car easily parks in the smallest spaces and has a tight turning radius. However, for life outside of a large urban area, this might not be the best EV for Canadians. With only two seats and limited storage space, this car was designed for life in the city.
|Model||Model S||Model X|
|Electric Range||435 km||413 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||9 hours||11 hours|
Some of you may have scanned ahead in search of this section: Tesla—the big T. The brand’s two (soon to be three) models are the superstars of the EV world, and in many ways, for good reason. Their performance is tough to beat, and for those of you who don’t want to mess with gasoline engines period, there are no PHEVs in sight. Tesla is a BEV-only company. The range is certainly the company’s strong suit, topping out at 413 kilometers for its versatile Model X SUV, and an incredible 435 kilometers for the now-classic Model S large sedan. Charging times are long, but worth the effort. Safety scores are excellent.
As a bonus, keep your eyes peeled for the comparatively-affordable Model 3, which is just now arriving on the driveways of some lucky early owners. Dubbed Tesla’s “people’s car,” this small sedan will offer much of the luxury and performance of its bigger siblings, at a much lower price—under $40,000 for a base model. This small, functional Tesla is likely to make some big waves in the EV market.
|Electric Range||201 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||4 hours|
The more affordable German brand offers one all-electric model to Canadian consumers: the Volkswagen e-Golf. It shows up with an impressive 201-kilometer range and takes only 4 hours to charge. Cars like the e-Golf are a great alternative to the likes of Nissan’s Leaf. While the Leaf screams “electric car,” the e-Golf, and other EVs based on regular cars tend to slide under the radar. The choice is yours, and at just under $36,000, blending in is an affordable option. Both the e-Golf and the plain old Golf on which it is based achieve 5-star safety ratings.
|Model||XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV|
|Electric Range||22 km|
|Charge Time (Level 2)||5 hours|
Last on our list is Volvo’s sole Canadian EV offering, and it’s a mouthful: the XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV. It’s based on Volvo’s excellent, recently redesigned XC90 SUV. While no vehicle on this list (except perhaps Mitsubishi’s lowly i-MiEV) could be considered unsafe, Volvo brings its rich history of safety research and development into the mix, presenting what is arguably the safest car on this list. And it’s pretty nice looking, too.
So there you have it, the complete list of electric vehicles currently available in Canada. As you can see, the list is quite extensive and is only growing longer. The great news is that competition among brands is heating up. As the consumer, expect not only better variety as you shop around in the coming weeks, months, or years, but also better performance out of the EV model you ultimately choose, whichever it may be.