EV Hidden Costs

A client asked us, “What can be done for those home owners in B.C. whose homes don’t have the capacity to add Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charger to their 100amp panel?”

The BC Government has made it clear that electric vehicles are the future. Their CEV for BC Vehicle Incentive Program is generous: $6,000 for the purchase or lease of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle; $5,000 for the purchase or lease of a new battery electric vehicle; $2,500 to $5,000 for the purchase or lease of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The Canadian Federal Government will also throw in $5,000. If you have an older car you might be eligible for the $6,000 scrap-it program.

Running an electric vehicle that travels 20,000km a year will increase your hydro bill by about $40 per month. If you have invested in solar panels, the cost is almost zero. Compare that to the cost of running the same mileage on gas at $1.68 per litre: $2,700 approx in gas vs $480 approx per year electricity. It’s obvious that moving to electric makes good economic sense. Add to that the subsidy available for putting your EV Charging station in, dropping the cost from $1,000 to $250 and the choice becomes a no-brainer. Switch to electric.

Or does it?

What if your home does not have the capacity to add a Level 2 EV charger? A lot of BC homes are in this position. There are no subsidies currently available for homeowners who wish to upgrade to allow for an electric vehicle charging station. Yes, you can charge it on a standard 120V outlet but it will take you up to 16 hours or more to charge it. Using the Level 2 EV charger your car will be fully charged in under 6 hours or less. Go to one of the Municipal Level 3 chargers and you are fully charged (for free) within 30/45 minutes.

There is another cost that we believe we should be talking about: the wiring from the EV Charger to your panel may be a costly investment depending on where both are located.

This is a major hole in the policy aimed at moving BC to a carbon free future. As a company we are focused not only on installation, maintenance and repairs of solar panels but also R&D and when needed, advocacy. Advocating for creative solutions for solar energy with our political friends and asking them to add it to their environmental platforms. There must be incentives available to homeowners to upgrade their wiring and panel capacity to accommodate an EV charging station.

We researched alternative solutions for a homeowner whose home does not have the electric panel capacity to safely add the Level 2 EV Charger, pricing up an off-grid solar system that would provide the power needed to charge an EV. The issue we found is storage: in BC there will be a 3month period where the solar system will not always produce the power needed to behours to charge). Our R&D which we will launch at the end of 2019 will seek to find the solution we need to store the electricity produced such that an off-grid system like this becomes viable without interruption.

With over 20 years combined experience in Solar, we have had front row seats for the incredible technological advances that have brought us to the point we are today where solar is both economically and ecologically a sound investment. We have watched storage (batteries) costs decrease by 10% per year with increasingly more capacity. We are confident that the storage solutions are within our grasp.

Can your street handle everybody moving to charging their EVs and drawing that much power from the grid?

Probably not. That’s where solar comes in. To meet the BC Government’s carbon free future we must see buildings (residential and commercial) become energy self-sufficient. Again, we feel that the BC Government needs to address this fact and provide BC homeowners with incentives to move to solar, just as business owners have been. Advocating for real solutions for our clients is an important aspect of our business model, working with policy makers to create intelligent incentives is vital.

We appreciate your feedback and questions, so please keep them coming!


We will try to explain terms from time to time that we think might be interesting to our friends and followers. One of the key issues we feel it is important to understand when thinking about an EV purchase is CHARGING. We found this link useful: bit.ly/2HuyXtJ

(Our website is currently migrating to a new Host and we are upgrading our firewall/malware, until that is done we will share our posts here.)

Raj Gurm

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