About low carbon vehicles

Low carbon vehicles (LCVs) are vehicles that produce low or zero tailpipe emissions. Low carbon vehicles include electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Electric vehicles

An electric vehicle (EV) is any vehicle that is partially or fully powered by electricity and plugs in to recharge. They can reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

There are two types of electric vehicles sold in Ontario for personal use:

Type of vehicle Features
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)
  • run only on electricity powered by an electric motor and battery
  • plug into external source of electricity to recharge
  • produce zero tailpipe emissions
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)
  • run on electricity powered by an electric motor and small battery
  • can run on gasoline when the battery is low
  • plug into an external source of electricity to recharge
  • produce low tailpipe emissions

Electric vehicle technology is used for many purposes in Ontario including passenger and commercial vehicles, rail, marine, aviation and more.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

A hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (HFCV) is any vehicle that uses electricity produced from hydrogen gas to power an electric motor. These vehicles only emit water and heat and do not produce tailpipe emissions.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are an emerging zero-emissions transportation technology within Ontario.

Owning an electric vehicle

Drivers that own electric vehicles in Ontario can benefit from lower fuel and maintenance costs and reduced emissions.

Fuel and maintenance

  • Charging electric vehicles costs less than purchasing gasoline and diesel for internal combustion engines. The average driver can save between $1,500-$2,500 per year on fuel and maintenance costs.
  • Electric motors are more durable than conventional gas or diesel motors and require fewer part replacements. Battery electric vehicle motors only have one moving part and do not require oil changes, transmission, or exhaust systems found in gas and diesel vehicles.
  • Brakes on battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles last longer than conventional gas and diesel vehicles due to their regenerative braking systems.

Driving range

  • Many new fully electric cars can now travel around 500 kilometres on a single charge. Some plug-in hybrid electric cars can travel 40-80 kilometres on electric, with an additional 500-900 kilometres of gas range. The distance an electric vehicle can travel depends on:
    • the vehicle technology (battery electric or plug-in hybrid)
    • battery size
    • weight carried
    • temperature
    • accessories in use
    • an individual's driving style

Lower vehicle emissions

  • Drivers could reduce their vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60-90% by driving battery electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and using Ontario’s low-carbon electricity to power their vehicles.

Programs for low carbon vehicles

Ontario is supporting the uptake of low and zero emission vehicles electric vehicles with:

Electric vehicle data

We publish electric vehicle data on the Ontario Data Catalogue:  Electric Vehicles in Ontario – By Forward Sortation Area

This dataset details the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in Ontario, including both battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The number of electrical vehicles is provided according to the Forward Sortation Area (FSA) (the first three characters of the postal code) of the vehicle’s registered address.