Assess your needs

Branchez-vous proposes four elements of thought that will help you identify vehicles, plug-in or not, corresponding to your situation.

  • Modern technology requires a revision of certain factors.
  • New parameters come into play.

    Be open to novelty!

    • Plug-in vehicles evolved from gasoline vehicle technology.
    • You therefore need to adapt your criteria analysis to the new technology.
    • If you opt for a plug-in model, your transportation habits will change as well.
    • With the right vehicle, the result will be different but pleasant, if you are open to novelty!

The four elements to consider when selecting a (plug-in) vehicle adapted to your needs:

For a more detailed reflection and fact sheets for plug-in vehicles on the market :

Download the Branchez-Vous 2018 brochure


What are the required functionalities for your next vehicle?

Avoid the trap of oversized needs, and choose according to your context and actual needs.

  • The average vehicle size is on the rise and this mainly reflects a tendency to choose according to “exceptional” needs rather than actual use.
  • Buying an oversized vehicle entails higher costs (monthly payments, fuel consumption, insurance, and others).
See pages 9 to 11 of the Branchez-Vous 2018 brochure for a more detailed reflection on identifying required functionalities

Travel patterns

What are your daily / frequent / occasional travels?

  • Start with your daily commute (work);
  • Add frequent trips (outings and errands);
  • Add a margin for unforeseen events and winter conditions.
  • For occasional trips (one to four times a month), if they go further than your daily travels:
    • Assess charging options at your destination or en route;
    • Consider a different plug-in model (with a greater range or a plug-in hybrid);
    • Think of the household’s other vehicle, if applicable.
  • For exceptional travels (once or twice a year), assess according to your context:
    • Is it an actual project or a “just in case”?
    • Can you use the household’s other vehicle (if there is one)?
    • Other options: short term rental or borrowing from a family member or a friend?

Avoid turning an exception into a decisive criterion.

Keep in mind that:

  • Your battery will be a 100% full every day (unlike the gas tank);
  • It is possible to charge en route during longer trips;
  • Overestimating the required range will shrink the selection of models and will increase the cost of acquisition.

See pages 12 to 15 of the Branchez-Vous 2018 brochure for a more detailed reflection on assessing your travel patterns.

Costs – Budget

How much do your travels really cost?

  • Apart from monthly payments related to acquiring or leasing the vehicle, take into account costs of use, such as fuel and maintenance.
  • In terms of energy, the plug-in vehicle can be up to four times cheaper to use!
  • In terms of maintenance, there are no oil changes with a fully electric vehicle and brakes last longer.

Branchez-Vous indicators:

To compare plug-in vehicles to a gasoline model of the same level and category, the Innovative Vehicle Institute has calculated indicators which take into account the additional cost of acquisition (25 to 30%), subsidies for purchase or rental (up to $ 8 000), energy consumption (electricity and/or gas), oil changes and brake maintenance.

  • Savings per 20 000 km: Savings associated with use over 20 000 km, taking into account energy costs, oil and brakes, which are the main expenses related to the use of a car.
  • Price equivalency point: Mileage at which the plug-in vehicle’s additional cost of acquisition will be canceled out thanks to savings on costs associated with operation.

EXAMPLES: Branchez-Vous indicators for the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Ford Fusion Energi

An electric vehicle can be up to four times cheaper to use than a comparable gasoline model.

  • Consider all costs related to your travels (acquisition, energy, maintenance) when you compare a plug-in model to a gasoline model: the plug-in model will very often be the most affordable choice.

See pages 17 to 22 of the Branchez-Vous 2018 brochure to learn more about Branchez-Vous indicators and assessing transportation costs.
See also the Branchez-Vous 2018 indicators calculated for each plug-in model presented in the data table on pages 48 to 52.


What are your charging options?

  • After range, charging raises the greatest number of questions when considering an electric vehicle acquisition. The first two things to know are:
    • Most charging is done at home, during the night;
    • How long it takes usually doesn’t matter as EV drivers are occupied at other activities while their car is plugged in.
  • Charging speed varies depending on the type of charger used.
  • Identify your charging options:
    • At home (120 V port or 240 V circuit)
    • At work (if offered)
    • Public networks (240 V, fast charging station, or Supercharger)
  • To find public charging stations in your community, along your routes and at your destination, check out specialized websites and mobile apps, such as ChargeHub.
  • Before leaving, find out how to pay and access public stations.

Most charging is done at home.

  • More and more employers offer access to charging at work;
  • When traveling, count on public networks for charging on the way or at your destination.
See pages 23 to 26 of the Branchez-Vous 2018 brochure to learn more about charging options at home, at work, at your destination and on the road.

To test drive plug-in vehicles, attend a Branchez-Vous event :

See the «Electric cars» section of Hydro Québec’s website to learn more about the benefits of plug-in vehicles
Visit the Electric Circuit, to learn more about public charging