EV Frequently Asked Questions

Are electric vehicle purchase incentives available in Nova Scotia?

Under the new iZEV Program, the Government of Canada is offering rebates of up to $5,000 for the purchase or lease of qualifying zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). The rebate is applied directly to the sticker price at the dealership at the time of purchase or lease.

There are two levels of incentive:

  • up to $5,000 for battery electric, longer-range plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) or hydrogen fuel vehicles; and
  • up to $2,500 for shorter range PHEVs.

There are two categories of qualifying vehicles:

  • vehicles with six seats or fewer, where the base model (trim) Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is less than $45,000. Higher priced trims, up to a maximum MSRP of $55,000, are also be eligible for purchase incentives; or
  • vehicles with seven seats or greater, where the base model MSRP is less than $55,000. Higher priced trims of these vehicles, up to a maximum MSRP of $60,000, are also be eligible for purchase incentives.

You will still be eligible for the incentive even if delivery, freight and other fees, such as vehicle colour and add-on accessories, push the actual purchase price over these set limits.

For more information and to view a list of qualifying vehicles, visit the iZEV Program website.

Information about the new provincial incentive is forthcoming.

What is an electric vehicle?

Electric vehicles (often abbreviated to EVs) are cars or trucks that get their power from electricity instead of gas. Instead of filling up the tank they can be recharged by being plugged into an external source of electricity, such as a wall socket.

Some EVs are 100% powered by electricity. Others, called plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), have both a gas-powered engine and an electric motor and can switch between gas and electric modes.

What is the difference between an electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle?

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, can be powered both by gasoline and by charging them with electricity. They have a gasoline engine and a rechargeable battery pack and can operate in either electric or gas-powered modes.

What are the benefits of owning an electric vehicle?

There are many benefits to owning an EV. 

EVs are cheaper to drive: powering your car with electricity can save as much as three times more than a gas-powered car.

EVs are cheaper to maintain: EVs have thousands fewer moving parts than conventional cars. Oil filters? Spark plugs? Alternators? Clutches? Those parts don’t exist in an EV, which means less of your time and money spent on maintenance.

EVs are convenient: You plug them in at night and wake up to a full battery each day. No more having to find a gas station on your way to work!

EVs are performance driven: More agile than convential gas vehicles, EVs are better suited to handle tricky driving conditions. Also, when you brake in an EV, the electric motor helps you slow down and recharges the battery by doing so. This helps you drive further on every charge. It also means your brake pads don’t get worn out as quickly and don’t have to be replaced as often – another saving!

EVs are quiet: without a noisy internal combustion engine EVs are whisper-quiet and help cut down on noise pollution.

Last on our list, EVs are good for the environment and public health: While gasoline combustion in a conventional vehicle produces greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) and particulate pollutants that contribute to smog, EVs produce no tailpipe emissions.

What does Total Cost of Ownership mean?

The total cost of ownership (or TCO for short) is simply a way of thinking about the initial cost of something plus the cost to operate it over its useful life. A TCO for vehicles should include: fuel, maintenance, insurance, depreciation/appreciation and lost time due to servicing. The idea is to take into consideration the total cost that a vehicle owner would will incur to operate an asset, not just the upfront acquisition cost.

EVs & PHEVs can often have a surprisingly low TCO. For example, automotive researchers compared the total cost of ownership between a Tesla model 3 and a Honda SL (https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/14/tesla-model-3-vs-honda-civic-15-cost-comparisons-over-5-years/) and found that the Tesla Model 3 saved money over a period as short as 5 years. In cases of longer ownership, even more money is saved when comparing gasoline to electric vehicles.

Do any Teslas models quality for the federal electric vehicle incentive?

Yes, the 2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range (MSRP $44,999, range 150 km) and Standard Range Plus (MSRP $53,700, range 386 km) vehicles qualify for the rebate of up to $5,000. (The $5,000 rebate is available for vehicle purchases or leases with terms of 48 months; shorter term leases are eligible for smaller rebates.)

You can order the Standard Range Plus Model 3 online. The Model 3 Standard Range can only be purchased by calling Tesla or visiting a Tesla Store.

Other Tesla models are not eligible for the rebate.

How do I purchase a Tesla, since there are no dealerships in Nova Scotia?

Nearly all Tesla models (Model 3 Standard Range Plus trim, S, and X) can be ordered online from the Tesla website. The exception is the Model 3 Standard Range trim, which can only be ordered by calling Tesla or visiting a store. Contact information is available on the Tesla website.

What are some common electric vehicle acronyms?

So you’ve heard ‘EV’ and ‘PHEV’. What are some others?

BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle: an electric vehicle that runs completely off battery power and does not have an internal combustion engine. Often referred to as just “EV”.

ER-EV – Extended Range Electric Vehicle: a type of hybrid vehicle with a gasoline engine and a larger-than-usual electric motor and battery, often allowing for longer distances of all-electric driving. The Toyota RAV4 Prime, Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Clarity are all examples of an ER-EV.

ER-EVs qualify for a $3000 rebate – the highest provincial incentive in Nova Scotia.

EVSE – Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment: referred to often as a “charger”, an EVSE is a control system that uses two-way communication to charge a car safely and effectively. Learn more at https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1050948_what-is-evse-and-why-does-your-electric-car-charger-need-it

kW – Kilowatt: a measure of power, or 1,000 watts. For example, a 10,000 watt dryer could also be called at 10 kW dryer. In an electric car, kW is used to measure the power of the electric motor to drive the wheels. You can compare kW directly to horsepower in a gasoline vehicle; simply take the kW of an electric motor and multiply it by 1.34. A Leaf Plus with a 160-kW motor has 214 horsepower.

kWh – Kilowatt hour: a measure of energy. In an EV, a kWh is not the number of the kilowatts being used in an hour, but rather how many hours it can deliver its power, based on standard tests.

From the link below: A Tesla Model S with a 100-kWh battery can continuously deliver 100 kW for one hour, and the car uses 1kWh of energy to go about 6.4 kilometers. Multiply 100 kWh by 6.4, and you get the car’s estimated range of about 640 kilometers on a charge. Learn more at https://driving.ca/nissan/leaf/column/how-it-works/how-it-works-making-sense-of-ev-specifications

SOC – State of Charge: The current voltage of the battery relative to its maximum voltage when charged. For example, an electric vehicle that is charged to 80% has a state of charge of 80%. SOC is good for providing a cursory look at how much charge you have left, and is viewable in plain sight inside the vehicle.

SOH – State of Health: The capacity of the batteries to hold charge as they age. For example; an electric vehicle with a SOH of 96% has experienced an overall loss of 4% from its original battery capacity. Due to several factors, batteries degrade over time, causing a loss in range for electric vehicles. SOH provides the best idea of how much energy a battery can store, relative to when it was brand new. For people looking at purchasing a used electric vehicle, State of Health is critical information. Learn more at https://www.dukosi.com/blog/what-are-state-of-charge-and-state-of-health/.

To find the SOH, a reader device like an OBDII may be necessary.

Charging

Can I plug my electric vehicle in to a regular wall outlet, or does it need a special charger?

Yes, you can recharge your EV by plugging it into a regular wall outlet (level 1). The charge cable comes standard with all EVs. A typical EV will recharge at a rate of around 7-9 kilometres of range per hour plugged in to a wall outlet. This rate of charge fits many Canadian’s driving needs as their vehicle is regularly parked in their driveway or garage overnight and they don’t have a long daily commute. 

For those who want a faster charge, you can install a Level 2 charging station. Level 2 chargers require the same type of electrical outlet as your kitchen stove or dryer. Level 2 recharge rates are around 30 kilometres of range per hour. This is the most common type of public charger, often found at community centers or in public parking lots. 

Can I use an extension cord when charging my electric vehicle?

Many manufacturers warn against using an extension cord when charging an EV because the cords can overheat when charging for extended periods. For this reason, we do not recommend using a standard home extension cord to charge your EV.

Does my electric vehicle come with a charger?

Yes, all EVs come standard with a Level 1 charger that can be plugged into a regular wall outlet. Also, all EVs can be charged with a Level 2 charger, which you can purchase separately or use a publically available charging station.

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

Charging time varies according to several factors:  the make and model of your EV, how much charge it has when you plug it in, and the level of charging station you are using (levels 1, 2 or 3).

All EVs come with a level 1 charge cable that allows the vehicle to recharge at any standard wall socket. The rate of recharge is about 7-9 kilometres per hour of charge. Many Canadian EV owners simply leave their EV plugged in to a regular wall socket overnight and wake up to a fully charged battery each day – ready to go!

Level 2 charging stations are available for installation at your house, place of work, or an EV user can visit a readily available public station. Level 2 stations charge at a rate of roughly 30 kilometres of range per hour.

The fastest charging happens at level 3 or “fast charging” stations, which can charge at an estimated rate of 250 km per hour or more! The rates of charging at level 3 stations continue to improve as the technology, likewise, improves. 

Keep in mind that depending on how far you need to drive your EV, you may not even need to fully recharge it daily. Many late model EVs available in Canada have ranges of between 250 – 400 km on a full charge.

Can I over-charge an electric vehicle by accident?

No. All EVs have built-in safeguards that prevent overcharging.

What are the different types of charging stations?

People in the industry talk about three levels of charging station — Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The higher the number, the faster it charges your EV.

Level 1 is just another name for a regular wall outlet. Depending on the EV, one hour of charging on a Level 1 station adds roughly 7-9 km of range.

Level 2 stations are the most commonly available type of public charging station. Many EV owners also choose to install a Level 2 station at home to speed up charging, as an hour at a Level 2 station adds approximately 30 km of range.

Level 3 stations are also known as “fast charging” stations, they can charge at a rate of 250 km per hour and are most often used when driving long distances between destinations. They are very expensive to install, and so are not as common as Level 2 charging stations.

Can all charging stations charge all types of electric vehicles?

All EVs can charge at Level 2 stations. Some plug-in-hybrids do not have the ability to use Level 3 charging stations (check with your dealer before purchasing).

The Tesla Model 3 EV cannot use public Level 3 charging stations without a CHAdeMO Adapter accessory, which is available online from the Tesla website. Other Tesla Models (X and S) do not require these adapters to use Level 3 charging stations. And all Tesla EV models also have access to proprietary “Super Chargers” that other EVs models cannot use.

How do I find public charging stations?

As of March 2019, there are over 5,000 charging stations in Canada, of which there are approximately 325 in the Maritime provinces, and these numbers are growing all the time!

The easiest way to find a charging station near you is to visit Plugshare.com, which shows all public charging stations on a map that is being continually updated.

What does it cost to charge my electric vehicle?

The cost of charging your EV’s battery depends on several factors, the most important of which are the make and model of your EV, how much charge it has when you plug it in, the kind of charging station you are using, and the cost of electricity in your jurisdiction.

Here in Nova Scotia, with gasoline priced at $1.20 per litre, driving an average compact car 100km will cost you $11.44 in fuel, an average SUV or minivan will be $14.80. Electric vehicles on the other hand are more efficient and will only cost $2.80 in electricity to cover that same 100km. Driving an electric vehicle can save you $1,500 or more on fuel costs per year, depending on your yearly mileage.

When at public stations, the costs can vary. Some public Level 2 charging stations are free to use. The Level 3 fast-charging will cost between $3 and $5 for a 15-minute charge.

How much do home charging stations cost?

A typical Level 2 station will cost between $500 and $1,500, with most stations in the $800 – $1,200 range. The parts and labour to complete the installation can vary drastically depending on a variety of factors but will often cost an additional $500 to $1,500, assuming you don’t have to upgrade your electrical service or panel to enable installation. You should contact a licensed electrician prior to purchasing a charging station to find out if you need to do any preliminary work to accommodate the station.

If you live in an apartment or condo, you should consult your landlord or condo board before purchasing a charging station.

Level 3 charging stations are prohibitively expensive for home installations (over $70,000) — they are often installed by businesses or energy utilities.

What if I live in a multi-unit condo or apartment building – how do I charge my electric vehicle?

Some newer multi-unit buildings in Nova Scotia have Level 2 charging stations available for use by residents, but these are not yet common. If you own an EV and are planning to move to a multi-unit building, you many need to rely on public charging stations. Be sure to contact your prospective landlord or condo board to confirm.

Is there a better time of day or night for me to charge my electric vehicle?

Most Nova Scotians pay the same price for electricity regardless of the time of day, so there’s no price advantage to charging at one time or another.

If you have installed a qualifying electric-based space heating system and have access to Time-of-Day (TOD) rates with Nova Scotia Power, then charging your EV during off-peak hours can shave even more money off the cost of driving.

What happens if I do run out of charge while on the road?

If you do run out of charge while driving, you can call a tow truck to get towed to the nearest public charging station. For EV drivers who are CAA members, you can call the Roadside Assistance line (1-800-222-4357) to get a tow to a charging station. Depending on your membership level, your tow could be free. 

Performance

How far can an electric vehicle go on a single charge?

This is a common question, but one that’s a bit of a hold-over from the world of gas-powered cars. When you need to leave home to find a gas station to fuel up, it makes sense to think in terms of how far you can drive before you have to find another gas station.

But having an EV means that your fueling station is as close as your nearest wall socket. In this way, EVs are more like cellphones than gas-powered cars. We typically don’t ask how long a cellphone can go on a single charge. Sure, it needs enough battery life to get you through a typical day, but whether it has 25% or 50% charge left once you get back home doesn’t really matter.

Many late model EVs available in Canada have ranges of over 250 km on a full charge. But if your regular commute to and from work (with maybe a stop for groceries and a school pick-up thrown in the mix) is less than this, you wouldn’t need a fully-charged battery to start your day.

How fast can electric vehicles go?

Think getting an EV means rolling along in the slow lane? Think again! While internal combustion engines often have to downshift to accelerate quickly, electric motors don’t have a transmission and react immediately when you hit the accelerator.  Electric motors inherently have high torque output meaning that EVs accelerate faster than gas-powered cars, and many have top speeds that are comparable with high-performance gas-powered cars.

What are regenerative brakes?

Having regenerative brakes means that an EV can slow down, or come to a full and complete stop, without having to use its brake pads and recharge the battery.

How? When the driver takes their foot off of the accelerator, the tires begin turning the vehicle’s electric motor using the momentum of the vehicle, generating electricity. The force required to turn the electric motor is so great that the vehicle slows down or comes to a stop with the electricity captured in the battery. Not only does this reduce wear and tear on your brake pads, it also extends how far you can drive on a single charge (especially with city driving)!

 

Can an electric vehicle still operate when it’s cold outside?

We all know that bitter cold Canadian winters can be hard on regular car batteries, but what about EVs? Because plugging your EV in at night means that electricity is keeping your battery warm, EVs don’t have the same issues that some gas-powered vehicles do with failing to start in frigid temperatures.

However, very cold temperatures (-20°C or colder) can reduce an EV’s range by as much as 40%. This is because the battery is not only powering the car, it’s working harder to heat the car’s interior as well as running the motor. (Gas-powered cars also become less efficient in the cold, but the decrease is less noticeable.)

One trick to minimize the efficiency loss in the cold is to pre-condition your EV’s battery. Many models offer the option pre-programming a departure time, often through a cell phone app, and the EV will begin to warm up the battery and interior cabin before you leave. Because a warm battery is more efficient than a cold one, this can help preserve range. Another tip is to put your car in eco mode on very cold days. This primes your car to work more efficiently. It may feel a bit more sluggish, but it will be preserving battery power. One final trick is to rely on your heated seats rather than the vehicle’s air conditioning system to keep warm, which will reduce the drain on the battery.

And did you know Norway, a Nordic country, has one of the highest EV ownership rates in the world?

How do electric vehicles hold up to winter driving conditions like snow and slush?

EVs tend to have a more responsive, road-hugging feel as a by-product of their lower centre of gravity. By placing the main battery in the lowest point in the vehicle, often under the floor, will result in a lower centre of gravity. This means the vehicle will often have less “roll” and feel planted when cornering. Whether it’s nice and sunny or you’re driving through slush and snow, EVs can easily navigate all road conditions.

Environmental Benefits

Why are electric vehicles better for the environment?

Internal combustion engines produce by-products from burning gas that can harm the environment and air quality. Burning gasoline produces greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide that contribute to climate change. Burning gas or diesel also produces particulate hydrocarbons that contribute smog and poor air quality. EVs have no tailpipe emissions (although, like gas-powered vehicles, there are emissions created in their production, transportation and end-of-life).

What if we still burn fossil fuels like coal to make the electricity that powers my electric vehicle?

There is a misconception that unless the electricity grid that powers your EV is 100% renewable, the EV is no better than a gas-powered car. This is not true. Bloomberg NEF recently found that, even if the electricity that powered it was 100% coal-fired, a Tesla Model S making a 1000-mile road trip would still have fewer associated emissions than a Chevy Impala making the same trip.

And Nova Scotia’s grid is becoming increasingly powered by renewable electricity. As of December 2019, renewables made up 29% of our electricity mix, and this is projected to increase in coming years. In fact, your EV’s highest-emitting day is the first day you own it.

Click here for more information on the life cycle analysis of EVs.

What happens to an electric vehicle’s battery at the end of its life?

Even when your EV’s battery is no longer able to power your car, it can be reused in other less-demanding applications such as storing electricity from solar panels and wind farms, and powering refrigeration units. Once they’re fully spent, the raw materials that went into the battery can be recovered.

Dalhousie University has a Renewable Energy Storage Laboratory that is working on repurposing EV batteries for grid energy storage. Click here to find out more.

Maintenance

What kind of maintenance does my electric vehicle require?

Without an internal combustion engine and its moving parts, EVs require much less maintenance than gas-powered cars. So, forget about oil changes, transmission fluid top-ups, replacing spark plugs, mufflers…

EVs do need some TLC. Wiper blades and washer fluid need to be changed out and topped up regularly. The tires should be rotated and cabin air filters replaced according to the manufacturers’ guidelines. The brakes need to be kept up, but an EV’s regenerative brakes don’t wear down like conventional brakes do.

The big cost for an EV comes when its battery needs replacement, but there is warranty coverage that comes standard with all EVs available in Canada.

What is the warranty on my electric vehicle?

Warranties will vary depending on each manufacturer, but most offer a bumper to bumper warranty of 3 years / 60,000 km. Most manufacturers of vehicles available in Canada offer an 8 year / 160,000 km warranty for the battery. For most brands this covers a minimum 70% retention of battery capacity over the warranty period. (As with all batteries, the amount of energy stored on full charge will diminish with use. Your warranty protects you from excessive loss of battery capacity.)

Aren’t electric vehicle batteries expensive?

Right now, the replacement cost for a battery ranges from around $7,500 for the Nissan Leaf to around $14,000 for the Chevy Bolt, and about $25,000 for the Tesla Model X. That is a lot of money, but there are 3 important caveats to understand:

EV batteries aren’t like your cell phone battery; they last. With recent advances in battery cell chemistry and thermal management, batteries in new EV models lose only about 1-2% in range per year. This means that most EV owners will have finished their leases, re-sold or traded in their vehicles well before range loss becomes an issue. And the standard 8 year / 160,000 km warranty on an EV battery means that in the rare cases where batteries lose excessive range or fail outright, you’re fully covered.

The price of batteries is going down drastically. For example, the price of a battery pack comparable to the Tesla’s Model 3’s has dropped more than 70% in the 6 years between 2010 and 2016. This trend is expected to continue through to 2030. But given the longevity of EV batteries, this decrease in price will likely matter more to consumers because it will help reduce EV sticker prices at the time of purchase, rather than because you will ever need to replace a battery in your vehicle.

Lastly, some EV manufacturers are starting to offer re-furbished battery packs at reduced costs.

How often do I need to replace the battery in my electric vehicle?

EV batteries in Canada come with a standard 8 year / 160,000 km warranty. Because EVs are still relatively new, there’s not yet a reliable prediction for battery life. However, recent advances in battery cell chemistry and thermal management mean that batteries in new EV models lose only about 1-2% in range per year. This means that most EV owners will have finished their leases, re-sold or traded in their vehicles well before range loss becomes an issue. Anecdotally, many Tesla owners have reported less than 10% total range degradation over 250,000kms. Unlike aging components in gas-powered cars, there’s no harm to the EV that comes with driving with an older battery. The biggest downside is loss of range. It’s been estimated that an EV’s battery may have lost as much as 20% of its range by 160,000 km.

Did you know Dalhousie University is home to one of the world’s leading experts on Lithium-Ion batteries? Professor Jeff Dahn’s battery research lab holds an exclusive research partnership with Tesla Motors. They are collaborating on the development of batteries that are cheaper, more powerful and longer lasting.

Can I take my electric vehicle to the same mechanic who fixes my gas-powered car?

For all the wear and tear components like suspension, brakes, windshield wipers, and tires EVs are no different than a gasoline vehicle and your mechanic could service your EV.

On the other hand, the EV’s battery and propulsion system works on different principles from an internal combustion engine, and the mechanic who serviced your gas-powered car may not have been trained how to diagnose and fix EV issues. In addition, servicing an EV requires specialized equipment that is not yet commonly found outside dealerships that sell EVs.

Will my electric vehicle take the same kind of tires, wiper blades, etc. as my gas-powered car?

Yes; most EVs on the market use the same range of wiper blade and tire sizes as gas-powered cars. Many EVs come equipped with low rolling resistance tires which help maximize the vehicle’s potential distance per charge. These tires are not required but do help increase the range by a few percent.

Rebates

General

What is an Electric Vehicle?

Electric vehicles (often abbreviated to EVs) are vehicles that get their power from electricity instead of gas. Instead of filling up the tank they can be recharged by being plugged into an external source of electricity, such as a wall socket. There are two major types of EVs:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs, which have only an electric motor and no internal combustion engine); and
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs, which have both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine).

Hybrid vehicles that do not plug in, such as the Toyota Prius, are not considered electric vehicles for rebate eligibility purposes. (However, the Toyota Prius Prime, which does plug in, would be considered an eligible PHEV.)

Do I have to live in Nova Scotia to qualify for a rebate for a new electric vehicle?

Yes, individual consumers must be Nova Scotian residents to receive the rebate.

Are businesses and non-profit organizations eligible?

Yes, as long as they are registered in Nova Scotia or have a business affiliate here. There is a limit of 10 new vehicle rebates per calendar year.

Are municipal governments and First Nations eligible?

Yes, municipal governments and First Nations are eligible for rebates. There is a limit of 10 rebates per calendar year.

When does the Electrify rebate program start?

Starting February 24, 2021, Nova Scotian residents who purchase or lease an eligible BEV or PHEV are entitled to receive rebates.

Initially, the rebates will not be available at point-of-sale (i.e., applied at time of purchase). In these cases, those who purchase or lease an eligible vehicle will be able to claim their rebate by submitting an application.

Starting April 1, 2021, dealerships will apply the rebate automatically at the point-of-sale.

When does the Electrify rebate program end?

The rebates will remain available until the budget allocated for this program is completely exhausted or until such time as the Government of Nova Scotia decides to terminate it, with or without notice.

Is it a first-come, first-serve rebate program?

Yes, it is.

What if I bought an eligible electric vehicle on February 23, 2021? Can I still get my rebate?

No. The rebate program took effect on February 24, 2021. Only purchases or leases of eligible BEVs and PHEVs on or after this date will qualify for rebates.

If I have made a deposit already but have not made final payment, and have not yet received the vehicle, am I eligible?

If the final bill of sale for the vehicle is dated on or after February 24, 2021, the purchase is eligible regardless of when a deposit was made. For questions related to your bill of sale, please speak with your dealer.

I bought or leased an eligible electric vehicle on or after February 24, 2021 but didn’t get the rebate. What do I need to do to get my rebate payment, and how long will I have to wait?

As of February 24, 2021, eligible BEV and PHEV purchases or leases will qualify for a rebate. Initially, the rebates will not be available at point-of-sale.

There are two ways to claim your rebate if it was not applied at point-of-sale:

  1. You can apply directly by completing an application and submitting the supporting documents detailed in the application instructions. We will review the application to confirm eligibility and issue you a cheque for your rebate. Assuming the application is complete and the purchase was eligible, we will post a cheque to you within 30 days of receiving the application.
  2. Alternatively, your dealer may elect to complete and submit the application on your behalf. In this case, we will post the rebate cheque directly to you within 30 days of receiving a completed application from the dealer.

After March 31, 2021, the rebate will be applied at the point-of-sale at all dealerships, allowing consumers to benefit immediately when purchasing or leasing an eligible BEV or PHEV. Your dealership will be responsible for completing all documentation required to provide you the rebate.

 

Can I purchase or lease an electric vehicle outside of Nova Scotia and still qualify for the rebate?

No, only vehicles purchased or leased within Nova Scotia from a licensed dealer are eligible.

Eligible electric vehicles that are purchased online, such as Tesla models, qualify for the rebate so long as the vehicle is sold to a Nova Scotian resident, municipality, First Nation, or provincially registered business or non-profit.

New Electric Vehicle Rebates

What is an electric vehicle?

Electric vehicles (often abbreviated to EVs) are vehicles that get their power from electricity instead of gas. Instead of filling up the tank they can be recharged by being plugged into an external source of electricity, such as a wall socket. There are two major types of EVs:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs, which have only an electric motor and no internal combustion engine); and
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs, which have both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine).

Hybrid vehicles that do not plug in, such as the Toyota Prius, are not considered electric vehicles for rebate eligibility purposes. (However, the Toyota Prius Prime, which does plug in, would be considered an eligible PHEV.)

What vehicles are eligible for the new electric vehicle rebate?

The rebate for new electric vehicles will apply to the same makes and models as in the Government of Canada iZEV program.

Specifically, the rebate will apply to

  1. vehicles with six (6) seats or fewer, where the base model (trim) Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is less than $45,000
    • higher priced versions (trims) of these vehicles, up to a maximum MSRP of $55,000, will also be eligible for a rebate; and
  2. vehicles with seven (7) seats or greater, where the base model MSRP is less than $55,000
    • higher priced versions (trims) of these vehicles, up to a maximum MSRP of $60,000, will also be eligible for a rebate.

Please see the list of eligible vehicles available from the iZEV program.

In all cases, to be eligible for a new electric vehicle rebate, all vehicles must also:

  1. meet all federal and provincial motor vehicle safety standards;
  2. be intended for use on public streets, roads, and highways; and
  3. have at least four functioning wheels and be highway capable (e.g., not a low-speed vehicle).

Note that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and electric motorcycles, scooters and off-road vehicles are not eligible for rebates. The Government of Nova Scotia also does not distinguish between “long-range” and “short-range” PHEVs as in the federal iZEV program. All eligible new PHEVs, regardless of battery capacity, qualify for a $2,000 rebate.

Important: Transport Canada adjusts this list from time to time and reserves the right to take models off the list at any time. Any changes to the list from Transport Canada will be effective in Nova Scotia immediately upon publication of the changes by Transport Canada.

How much are the rebates for new electric vehicles?

There are two levels of rebate for new electric vehicles:

  1. $3,000 for battery electric vehicles with six (6) seats or fewer, where the base model MSRP is less than $45,000, or for battery electric vehicles with seven (7) seats or greater, where the base model MSRP is less than $55,000, up to a max of $60,000 for higher-priced trims; and
  2. $2,000 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with six (6) seats or fewer, where the base model MSRP is less than $45,000, or for plug electric vehicles with seven (7) seats or greater, where the base model MSRP is less than $55,000, up to a max of $60,000 for higher-priced trims.
What is a vehicle trim level?

A vehicle trim level is a pre-determined package of different equipment and finishes offered for a particular vehicle model (e.g., base, sport, touring, etc.). A vehicle model can have multiple trim levels. Different trim levels will typically have a different MSRP.

Do I qualify for the new electric vehicle rebate if I lease rather than buy?

Yes, the rebate can be applied to eligible vehicles leased for a minimum of one year but will be prorated based on the length of the lease. For example, a 48-month lease is eligible for the full rebate amount for the eligible vehicle in question and a 24-month lease will be eligible for half of the rebate for that vehicle.

Length of Lease Battery Electric Vehicle Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
48 months $3,000 $2,000
36 months $2,250 $1,500
24 months $1,500 $1,000
12 months $750 $500

Important: The Government of Nova Scotia is mandating that lessors retain their vehicle for a minimum of 12 months, or they will have to repay a prorated portion of the rebate.

Will I have to repay the rebate if I sell my new electric vehicle in the first 12 months?

Yes, the minimum ownership or lease period to required to retain the full rebate is 12 months.  Purchasers or lessees who sell or end their vehicle lease before that time will be required to refund a prorated portion of the rebate.

Are demonstrator vehicles eligible?

Yes, eligible BEVs and PHEVs that are demonstrators are considered new vehicles and are eligible for the rebate as long as the odometer reading is less than 10,000 km.

What is the maximum amount of money that I can expect from Electrify Nova Scotia Provincial Rebate Program for a new electric vehicle purchase?

Rebates of $3,000 are offered on new eligible BEVs.

How does the Nova Scotia rebate work with other rebate programs?

The Electrify new electric vehicle rebate will be applied to eligible new vehicles in addition to any federal rebates offered under the iZEV program. So, an eligible new BEV can receive $3,000 from the Province of Nova Scotia in addition to $5,000 from the iZEV program, for a total of $8,000.

Is there a limit on how many vehicles I can purchase or lease and still receive a rebate?

Yes, there are different limits for different types of consumers.

Individuals can only get one new vehicle rebate in a calendar year.

Businesses, municipal governments, First Nations, and non-profits can get up to 10 new vehicle rebates in a calendar year.

If I already received a rebate for a used electric vehicle from Nova Scotia, can I still receive a rebate if I also buy a new electric vehicle in the same calendar year?

Yes, individuals can get one new vehicle rebate and one used vehicle rebate per calendar year.

Businesses, municipal governments, First Nations, and non-profits can get up to 10 new vehicle rebates and 10 used vehicle rebates per calendar year.

Will the Government of Nova Scotia be offering a tax write-off on electric vehicles?

No; only rebates are available.

Used Electric Vehicle Rebates

What vehicles are eligible for the used electric vehicle rebate?

The used electric vehicle rebate will apply to any year, make or model of BEV or PHEV so long as it meets the following criteria:

  • must be purchased from a licensed dealer (not a private sale) located in Nova Scotia;
  • must not have had the Nova Scotia used vehicle rebate previously applied (only one used vehicle rebate is available per vehicle);
    • licensed dealerships will be responsible for sharing the vehicle identification number (VIN) for all electric vehicles that receive a used vehicle rebate with the Program Administrator to allow for verification of whether the vehicle has previously had the used vehicle rebate applied;
  • the retail price for the used vehicle between $10,000 and $55,000, regardless of what its original MSRP was;
  • the vehicle has been inspected to evaluate the residual capacity of the battery with respect to its initial capacity and this information must be disclosed to the customer in writing on the bill of sale prior to the sale being finalized;
  • the vehicle meets all federal and provincial motor vehicle safety standards;
  • the vehicle is intended for use on public streets, roads, and highways; and;
  • the vehicle has at least four functioning wheels and is highway capable (e.g., not a low-speed vehicle).
Do I qualify for a used electric vehicle rebate if I lease rather than buy?

No. Only purchases of used vehicles are eligible for a rebate.

Can I purchase a used vehicle outside of Nova Scotia and still receive the rebate?

No, only used vehicles purchased from a licensed dealer within Nova Scotia are eligible for a rebate.

If I buy a used electric vehicle through a private sale, can I still get the rebate?

No, only used vehicles purchased from a licensed dealer are eligible.

What is the maximum rebate that I can expect for a used electric vehicle?

There are two levels of rebate for used electric vehicles:

  1. $2,000 for BEVs that retail for between $10,000 and $55,000, regardless of the original MSRP; and
  2. $1,000 for PHEVs that retail for between $10,000 and $55,000, regardless of the original MSRP.

Note that the Government of Nova Scotia also does not distinguish between “long-range” and “short-range” PHEVs as in the federal iZEV program. All eligible used PHEVs, regardless of original battery capacity, qualify for a $1,000 rebate.

How does it work with other rebate programs?

Used vehicles from outside of Nova Scotia that have previously had other rebates applied (i.e., from Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, or the United States) are still eligible for the Nova Scotia used electric vehicle rebate.

However, a used electric vehicle that has already had the Nova Scotia used rebate applied will not be eligible for a second (i.e., one used rebate per Vehicle Identification Number).

If I already received a rebate for a new electric vehicle from Nova Scotia, can I still receive a rebate if I also buy a used electric vehicle in the same calendar year?

Yes, individuals can get one new vehicle rebate and one used vehicle rebate per calendar year.

Businesses, municipal governments, First Nations, and non-profits can get up to 10 new vehicle rebates and 10 used vehicle rebates per calendar year.

E-bike Rebates

What is an e-bike?

An electric bicycle (e-bike) is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor that can be used to assist propulsion. E-bikes can be operated solely on human power or with varying degrees of assistance from the electric motor.

What kinds of e-bikes are eligible for the rebate?

The e-bike rebate will apply to any year, make or model of e-bike, so long as it meets the following criteria:

  • the e-bike retails for at least $1,200, inclusive of sales and discounts, but exclusive of taxes and delivery fees;
  • the e-bike must have two wheels;
  • the electric motor must be 500 watts or less and be capable of propelling the cycle no faster than 32 km/h on level ground without pedaling;
  • the e-bike must be equipped with a mechanism that either: (a) allows the driver to turn the motor on and off, or (b) prevents the motor from turning on or engaging before the e-bike attains a speed of 3 km/h;
  • the motor must disengage when the operator: (a) stops pedaling, or (b) releases the accelerator or (c) applies a brake;
  • the motor cannot be gas- or diesel-powered;
  • the e-bike must be capable of being propelled by muscular power using the pedals, but it is not necessary to always be pedaling; and
  • The vehicle must meet any other conditions in the Motor Vehicle Act and regulations (R.S., c. 293, s. 1).

The e-bike must be purchased new from a retailer with a physical storefront in Nova Scotia (this includes both independent retailers as well as local outlets of chain stores).

E-bikes ordered from third-party, online retailers such as Amazon and Alibaba.com and individual private sellers are not eligible for a rebate.

Are e-bike conversion kits and accessories eligible for the rebate?

No, only e-bikes are eligible.

Can I get a rebate for electric motorcycles, mopeds, or scooters?

No, e-bikes are distinct from electric scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles because they have pedals and can be operated solely under human power. Electric scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, and off-road vehicles are not eligible for the e-bike rebate.

Can I get a rebate for electric unicycles or tricycles?

No, only bicycles (i.e., two wheels) are eligible.

Do leased e-bikes qualify for the rebate?

No. Only purchased e-bikes are eligible.

Can I purchase an e-bike outside of Nova Scotia?

No, only e-bikes purchased from retailers with a physical storefront located in Nova Scotia are eligible for a rebate (this includes both independent retailers as well as local outlets of chain stores). E-bikes ordered from third-party online retailers such as Amazon and Alibaba, directly from e-bike makers, or from individual private sellers, are not eligible for a rebate.

Is it a first-come, first-serve rebate program?

Yes, rebates are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and will remain available until the program budget is exhausted or the program is terminated.

Other

What happens when there’s a power outage?

Occasional short power outages shouldn’t be any more inconvenient for your EV than it is for your cellphone. In the case of longer power outages, you may need to rely on a public charging station if you need to recharge your battery. When the forecast calls for weather events that may create outages, it’s a good idea to charge up your EV in advance.

Will vehicle insurance cost me any more for an electric vehicle?

Some insurance companies offer a green vehicle discount while others don’t distinguish between the type of vehicle. Insurance companies take several factors into account when deciding on premiums, including your driving history, the level of coverage you’ve selected, and the type of car you are driving. Because EVs are more expensive than comparable gas-powered cars, this can result in an increase in premium.

When looking to insure your EV, we recommend shopping around or using the services of an insurance broker to get the best rates.

Does it cost any more to get my electric vehicle and registered?

No. The costs for vehicle permits for passenger vehicles in Nova Scotia are determined according to the weight of the vehicle. A permit for both an EV and a gas-powered car in the same weight category would cost the same.

What about hydrogen vehicles?

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV) are another type of vehicle, different from both gasoline and electric vehicles in that they use hydrogen as a fuel source, with advocates of this technology calling hydrogen the “fuel of the future”. HFCVs share some similarities with electric vehicles: both types emit zero tail pipe emissions, both types reduce noise pollution, and both types offer exciting performance and efficiency benefits. However, HFCVs continue to face significant challenges including high purchase price, issues around costly and unreliable refueling networks, and a lack of awareness in the public sphere. Not all hydrogen is produced in an emission friendly way either – the majority of current production comes from methane gas instead of being produced using renewable energy. Also, the lack of refueling stations (four in Canada presently), and issues around safely storing the fuel itself continue to cause uncertainty in the industry as a whole.

While these issues have slowed the rollout of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, there is still a significant amount of enthusiasm surrounding this technology. Many energy experts point towards hydrogen’s additional potential at decarbonizing emission heavy industrial sectors such as: steel-making, providing heat for buildings and moving goods via trains and transport trucks. Many nations, including Canada, continue to develop hydrogen strategies to investigate both the transportation and industrial settings.

Topics

Links

Plugshare

Interactive charging station locator 

CAA Atlantic

Canadian Automobile Association’s page on electric vehicles

Electric Vehicle Association of Atlantic Canada

Facebook updates, events & news about EVs in Atlantic Canada

PlugnDrive

Ontario’s go to information hub for anything EV

NS Power Electric Vehicle Guide

EV resource in Nova Scotia

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