In honour of Earth Day, we wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about sustainable and environment-friendly transportation options which are green or hybrid cars. The main difference between electric or hybrid vehicles and regular vehicles is how the engine is powered. Generally, the engine is fueled by gasoline (petrol) or diesel in a regular vehicle. However, a green vehicle includes an electric battery pack. On the other hand, a hybrid vehicle will include both a gasoline-powered engine and an electric battery pack. With the majority of car brands creating green models, as well as technological breakthroughs and evolving car models, such as Tesla; green cars are our future.

In this article, we cover the current green/hybrid car models available in Ontario, along with the benefits of owning this type of vehicle and how it may affect your car insurance rates. 

What are the benefits of hybrid/green cars? 

As previously mentioned, there are many benefits to owning an electric or hybrid vehicle. One of the biggest benefits is its low impact on the environment due to its overall reduced carbon footprint. Green/hybrid vehicles produce 90% fewer emissions compared to diesel and gasoline-powered engines. Although the cost to replace electric green/hybrid vehicle batteries is high, the benefits, such as fuel efficiency, outweigh the price tag. According to a 2014 study by AutoTrader, hybrid batteries last, on average, for 10-15 years with up to 200,000 miles (approx. 321,869 km.) Another added benefit is that you could save thousands on fuel costs per year, as well as routine maintenance costs. 

Where can I buy a green/hybrid vehicle?  

There are a variety of green/hybrid vehicles currently on the market in Ontario. In particular, we want to highlight the electric-powered cars specifically approved by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. By receiving approval, these vehicles are eligible for Ontario’s Green Licence Plate Program, which provides drivers with additional benefits such as access to specific HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) and HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes, even with only one passenger in the car. This program is only applicable to cars and unfortunately does not cover: 

  • Commercial vehicles weighing 3,000 kg or more 
  • Low-speed vehicles 
  • E-bikes 
  • Motorcycles 
  • Off-road vehicles 
  • Vehicles that have been converted to plug-in capability  

We recommend visiting the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s official website for a comprehensive list of the vehicles eligible for Ontario’s Green License Plate Program. This is a great first step in finding the green car that’s right for you.  

What are some examples of companies that manufacture green cars?

We’re glad you asked! Listed below are some of the more popular eco-friendly car brands on the market right now:

  • Tesla
  • Rivian
  • Vauxall
  • AK Motor International Corporation
  • Honda
  • Toyota
  • Volvo
  • Porsche
  • BMW
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Lexus
  • and more!

How can driving a green or hybrid vehicle impact my car insurance? 

Although driving a green or hybrid vehicle will not directly impact your car insurance rates, it is important to remember that when driving an eco-friendly vehicle, the unique lifestyle and environmental benefits will often outweigh the cost. Since electric cars are more expensive to maintain when they do require it, insurance rates will be higher than for an average car. The Zero-Emission Vehicles Program (iZEV) may be able to cover higher insurance rates or provide rebates. Visit the Government of Canada’s website to see an updated list of eligible vehicles. This program only covers vehicles purchased after May 1st, 2019, so if you are considering buying an eco-friendly vehicle, this offer is great to keep in mind. If you are already driving a green or hybrid car, we recommend speaking with a member of our isure team to learn of any discounts you can take advantage of.  

I already have a green/hybrid vehicle. How can I lower my insurance rates? 

There are small factors you can control that will help minimize green/hybrid vehicle insurance rates. For example, ensuring your vehicle’s home charging station is installed by a professional electrician will increase the vehicle’s safety and allow you to make the most of the car’s battery. Additionally, your home insurance rates will stay lower if a professional has done any electrical work.  

Certain insurance companies are offering discounts or special deals for eco-friendly vehicle drivers. Inquire about these discounts with your isure broker today!

In terms of transportation, what has been done to fight the climate crisis so far in Ontario? 

Ontario continues to adapt and embrace electric vehicles, making resources such as public charging stations more accessible. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, stated, “The transportation sector is key to Canada’s economy – but it also accounts for a quarter of our emissions. Making sure Canadians have access to options to get where they need to go in a cleaner, cheaper, faster way will protect our environment and grow our economy.”  

On top of this, certain companies have also begun implementing change, including the installation of charging stations that are accessible to the public.

What are the cons of owning a green/hybrid car?

As the acquirement of green vehicles continues to grow in Canada and worldwide, there are still many ways green vehicles need to “catch up” to the popularity of gasoline and diesel-fueled cars.

  • Although charging stations are continuing to pop up around the country, they still aren’t equivalent to gas and fuel stations
  • Green vehicles don’t typically have the same driving range as gas-powered vehicles
  • Electric cars require a long charge time, which may increase your electricity bill
  • Green or hybrid vehicles may come with a more expensive, upfront cost
  • Battery replacement on green/hybrid cars is more expensive than gas or diesel-fueled because the parts are not as in demand

We hope this article has helped you learn more about green/hybrid vehicles and has answered some of your questions. As always, feel free to reach out to your isure broker with any questions in regards to your electric car. Happy Earth Day!  

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