Driving towards greener options with electric vehicle telematics

Published on June 29, 2022

Electric vehicles are growing in popularity

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in Canada. It’s estimated at least 20 percent of cars sold in Canada by 2026 will be EV, with the Canadian government’s target goal of all cars and light-duty trucks sold to be zero-emission by 2035. To achieve this goal, the Canadian government has implemented several incentive programs to push customers toward electric options. Currently, the programs provide rebates to customers of up to $5,000 for the purchase of an EV in Canada. In April 2022, the MRSP requirements for the iZEV program increased, allowing more consumers to take advantage of this program. There are three categories of EVs: battery-electric (EV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and hydrogen fuel cell.

EVs cheaper in the long run

Increasing gas prices and environmental concerns have been major motivations for Canadians to choose an electric vehicle. Fuel costs are generally the biggest expense for fleets. There’s been some hesitation over the years to make the switch to EV options, mainly due to concerns over the battery lives and charge times. As technology expands, the life cycle of EV batteries has become longer, so consumers can drive for longer periods without needing to recharge. Driving habits are also a factor in maintaining the battery health of an EV. Speeding, harsh braking, and turning too quickly are behaviours that can affect the battery life of an EV. The initial cost of purchasing and installing an at-home charging station may cost more upfront but will save money down the road when compared to gas prices. It’s expected that by 2025, EVs will be priced at rates similar to gas cars.

When gas prices began to climb in early 2022, the average cost of gas in February was $1.50 per litre across Canada. This would cost approximately $2,500 CAD in gas over the course of a year if the vehicle was driven for 20,000km. For an electric vehicle, this cost would be substantially lower, at an average of $430 annually (based on the average electrical rate). Gas prices have continued to skyrocket as the year progresses, leading to even bigger potential savings by driving electric options. The cost to charge the average EV from empty to full ranges from $5 to $12 in Canada according to Clean Energy Canada. Imagine “filling up your tank” for $10 rather than the $100+ many of us are currently paying to get from A to B.

EV charging stations on the rise

EVs consisted of 5.2 percent of all new vehicles registered in 2021 in Canada. Of this 5.2 percent, 93 percent were purchased in the three largest provinces: Quebec, B.C., and Ontario. There are currently over 6,000 EV public charging stations available for public use across Canada, with plans to expand. Manufacturers globally are continuing to introduce new EV options each year. There are numerous light-passenger vehicles to choose from, with more trucks and even electric buses being introduced. For public transportation options, cities across Canada have been slowly introducing electric buses and taxis.

 Level 2 charging stations are the most common in Canada. Charging an EV for an hour will provide approximately 30km of driving time. Level 2 chargers use a standard plug, so EVs in Canada and the U.S. can use the same stations. These stations are also available for public use. Newly purchased EVs come with a level 1 charger. These chargers are standard wall-plug ins and are used anywhere – but they are the slowest kind of EV charger available. Level 3 chargers are the speediest option available. These can be found at gas stations and can charge a car from nearly empty to full within 30-45 minutes. The cost of installing a level 2 charging station at home ranges from $500-700, and up to $2000 for the labour. However, using a level 2 charging station will give you a longer charge time than a level 1.

Geotab solves the EV fleet gap

EV fleets currently aren’t required to follow the same reporting regulations as traditional fleets. This can create challenges in accessing fleet data. However, Geotab can help with that. To help EV fleets, Geotab developed its own EV fleet reports to provide clients access to data that can better manage their fleets. This can be used to notify when a charge is complete, inform/remind a driver if the vehicle wasn’t plugged in at the end of the shift, or notify the fleet if the battery is running low.

When it comes to EVs, battery health is something drivers need to be mindful of. A battery’s condition is called its state of health (SOH). Batteries start their life with 100% SOH and deteriorate over time. For example, a 60 kWh battery that has 90% SOH would effectively act like a 54 kWh battery. Thankfully, Geotab has collected data from over 6,300 EV fleets to gauge the battery health of popular electrical vehicles. Geotab users can access the “battery degradation tool” to see battery health trends and the expected longevity.

Geotab has also developed an Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment (EVSA) to help you determine if your fleet would benefit from EVs. Geotab currently offers support to over 200 EV models worldwide and can help identify the total cost of ownership if you make the switch to EVs. An audit done by Geotab showed that changing a single gas vehicle in a fleet to an electric option saved $31,000/year. With that kind of savings, it’s worth checking out!

As the transportation industry continues to drive towards EV options, Northern BI is ready to help you make the most of your Geotab telematics needs. If you want to learn more about switching your fleet to EVs or whether it makes sense for your business, contact Northern BI today!

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Torrie Rogers

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

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