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The Benefits of Hybrid and Electric Cars and What You Can Do to Insure Them

With the passing of recent legislation that offers more incentives for Canadians to make the switch from a gas-powered vehicle to a hybrid or electric vehicle, it’s important to get the details about what this switch might mean for you, and how you can insure your new electric car.
If you’re thinking about making the switch, follow this handy guide that walks you through the difference between hybrid and electric cars, the incentives you can expect to have for purchasing a new vehicle, and what options are available to help you insure your new car.

What’s the Difference Between a Hybrid and Electric Car? 

The basic difference between a hybrid and electric car is that an electric vehicle runs entirely on an electric battery pack and features no internal combustion (gas) engine. What, exactly, makes them different?

Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid vehicles feature both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric battery component. The size of both of these systems depends on the type of hybrid that you choose.

  • Mild Hybrids are standard hybrid vehicles that add electric components to a typical gas-powered car. These additional electronics will kill the engine while the vehicle is at a full stop or heading down a hill to reduce emissions while idling, and then restart on its own. They save on the cost of fuel and are typically less expensive than other hybrid vehicles.
  • Series Hybrids still have an internal combustion engine that kicks on for long drives or when carrying heavy loads. This vehicle is perfect for city driving, as the electric battery-powered system is used for the vast majority of driving conditions.
  • Plug-In Hybrids are hybrid vehicles that can be plugged in at electric vehicle charging stations. The larger battery pack in the vehicle means that the car can drive longer distances powered exclusively by the electric system. When the battery is insufficient, it will engage the ICE engine to complete the trip.

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are zero-emission cars that are powered by a large battery and don’t have an additional internal combustion engine to power the vehicle if the battery runs low. They feature a complicated battery design, nearly silent drive experience, and cheap battery-charging solutions.
Electric vehicles are still being developed and therefore can be pricier than most hybrid options, but the maintenance is minimal due to the absence of the typically complicated machinery involved in a gas car and the cost of refueling is much less than buying gas on a regular basis.

Why Make the Switch?

Here are a few key reasons why you should make the switch to an electric vehicle.

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

It’s long been established that burning fossil fuels increases the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that pollute the air and contribute to climate change. Much of Canada relies on clean energy to power homes and businesses, and you can reduce emissions from your vehicle by up to 90% by going electric.

Save Money in the Long Run

By driving a vehicle that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels, you can expect to save nearly $2,000 a year on gas alone. You also can anticipate lower maintenance costs, as the construction of an electric vehicle is much simpler and doesn’t require the typical maintenance routines, like oil changes, or have as many moving parts that need to be replaced to maintain the vehicle’s drivability.

Electric Vehicle Incentives

There are a variety of electric vehicle incentives now being offered in Canada. As of May 1, 2019, all Canadians qualify for an incentive to buy an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle where they can save up to $5,000 off the purchase price. There are also incentives for making the switch in multiple provinces within Canada.


  • New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan commits to encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles by continuing to improve vehicle recharging infrastructure and working to create a comprehensive incentive plan that will make it easier for drivers to make the switch. In this plan, New Brunswick hopes to have at least 20,000 electric vehicles out on the road by 2030, including fleet vehicles, like taxis
  • Nova Scotia’s Choose How You Move Sustainable Transportation Strategy aims to promote the adoption of electric vehicles by continuing to provide increased options for the public to be able to recharge electric vehicles throughout the province. In addition to expanding electric vehicle recharging infrastructure, the province is committed to increasing the number of electric vehicles in their fleets.
  • Prince Edward Island wants people to make the switch to electric vehicles and is doing everything it can to ensure that when the public does, batteries won’t run out. As part of the Climate Change Action Plan, Prince Edward Island is committed to expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure and helping promote the adoption of electric vehicles.

With the combination of federal and provincial incentives, electric and hybrid vehicles can become a much more affordable option for car owners who are looking to make the switch. While provincial governments are still rolling out their comprehensive incentive plans, it’s clear that it will become increasingly easier to afford the switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle.

If you’re curious about the maximum incentives you can receive for your electric vehicle purchase, check out this helpful list.

What About Charging Stations?

All electric vehicles are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electrical outlet or a specialized charging plugin. There are two levels of charging based on what you plug the vehicle into.


  • Level 1 charging stations are the level of output that you receive when you plug your electric vehicle into a standard wall outlet using a special portable cord-set. When charging electric vehicles, this type of charge is much slower than Level 2, with about 1 hour of charging for roughly 8 km of driving. The Level 1 charging can, however, fully charge a plug-in hybrid vehicle overnight.
  • Level 2 charging is the most common way to charge your electric vehicle. This is done by charging it at a special station that will give you about 30 km of driving range with one hour of charge time. These stations are standardized across the entirety of North America and can be installed directly into your home.  

What Can You Do to Insure Your New Electric Vehicle?

All you need is a standard auto insurance policy to insure your electric vehicle. While you may be worried that you’ll see an increase in insurance premiums, this likely won’t be the case since insurance policies are driven by serial numbers. In fact, there may even be discounts for these cars depending on the company that you receive a quote from and insure with.

The combination of lower maintenance costs and no increase in your insurance means that making the switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle is the right move to make.

Higgins Insurance offers comprehensive auto insurance that can keep you covered and ensures you peace of mind when driving your new eco-friendly purchase. Be sure to ask about any discounts you are eligible for when giving Higgins a call.

Make the Switch Today

There are many great reasons to switch from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric or hybrid car. As a Canadian, you are eligible to receive any number of electric vehicle incentives that offset the price of buying a new or used electric vehicle, while reducing the overall carbon emissions to the environment.

You can also be sure that your new electric vehicle is covered by comprehensive auto insurance. Therefore, not only are you doing a great service to the environment, but you’re saving money in the long run by switching to an electric vehicle today.

If you’re ready to make the switch, speak with a qualified insurance representative to get a quote on your new electric vehicle today. Contact Higgins Insurance for more information!

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