Time for a new car?
Reduce your climate impact by choosing an electric, hybrid or diesel.
When it comes to getting around, there’s no better alternative for your health or the planet’s than active transportation. Even using transit or a car-sharing program has a much lower impact on the climate than personal cars and trucks — though driving smart can help. But if you’re in the market for a vehicle, there are a number of modern options that are remarkably more eco-friendly than older, more conventional cars and trucks.
Fully electric vehicles (EVs) are fuelled by electricity, meaning they have no internal combustion engine; there’s no need for gasoline and no tailpipe pollution. Depending on your province’s electricity grid, EVs can lower your carbon footprint dramatically.
And at one-sixth the operating expense of a conventional mid-size vehicle, owning an EV can lead to significant cost savings over the life of the vehicle.
EVs are particularly well suited for moderate travel and are ideal for regular commuters or those that use a car mainly to get around town. Regardless, today’s EVs can go the distance, with different models ranging from 140 to 180 kilometres per charge.
They charge quickly too, usually overnight when plugged into a regular home outlet. Installing a 240-volt plug-in at home can reduce charge time significantly. These outlets, which are similar to the ones needed for clothes dryers, cost between $200 and $400 to install, with charging costs dependent on provincial electricity rates.
And now that charging stations are popping up all around the country, “range anxiety” shouldn’t be an issue. With a growing number of websites and smartphone applications designed to pinpoint charging stations, finding a spot to recharge when you need one is getting easier all the time.
Plug-in hybrids have better range than EVs simply because they have both electric and gasoline engines; they fill up at a gas pump and plug in at home or a charging station. When driving, they give preference to the electric motor until the battery is depleted (around 60-80 km), then the gasoline engine kicks in. Other hybrid models use gasoline and regenerative braking to charge the electric motor and battery.
By using an electric motor, hybrids reduce the amount of gasoline the vehicle needs, resulting in significantly better fuel economy than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. They also emit about one-third the amount of carbon pollution, with a range that is similar or better than equivalent conventional vehicles.
If you do a lot of long distance or highway driving, a diesel vehicle could be ideal for you. Typically, these cars and trucks have a longer range, meaning you can travel farther between fill-ups than you can with gasoline, EV or hybrid vehicles.
Diesel can also be a more efficient and environmentally friendly option than gasoline, particularly if you seek out biodiesel-blended fuel. Significant advances in fuel-efficient diesel engine design and better exhaust treatment, combined with cleaner diesel-fuel blends, mean they pollute less than similarly sized gas-powered cars, particularly when cruising at highway speeds.
If you’re looking to purchase a new efficient vehicle, the EcoLiving Auto Loan Program can help.
Drivers that purchase one of over 80 eligible new hybrids, electric or certain diesel vehicles can receive a loan up to $300,000 (subject to credit approval). To find out more, ask your local dealership.
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