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Eyeing an electric car? Here’s what to look for

Do you have the power?

“[Electric vehicle] batteries collect energy from an electric outlet or charging station and use that electricity to power an electric motor that propels the vehicle,” says Sandy Di Felice, director of external affairs at Toyota Canada. Toyota has sold over a million of its electric-hybrid Prius, which was launched in 1997 and will be refreshed in 2015 with a new aerodynamic design that makes the vehicle lighter and more compact. Di Felice recommends checking to see if your garage and parking spot at work have electrical outlets. “All electric vehicles come with a charging cable,” she says. “But if you plan to charge frequently, it may be worth looking into installing a charging station, which provides a faster charge than simply using a standard electrical outlet.”

The right range is key

“Electric vehicles are popular because there are a variety of powertrain options to suit any customer’s lifestyle,” says Dean Geddes, Ford’s brand and EV marketing manager. Last spring, the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid won the inaugural Canadian Green Car award at Toronto’s Green Living Show. According to Toyota’s Di Felice, most fully electric vehicles can travel about 160 kilometres on a full charge before they need to be plugged in. “If you’re looking for something more flexible for longer distances, a plug-in hybrid may be your best choice,” she suggests. “Plug-in hybrids offer drivers the best of both worlds: pure electric driving for short trips with the versatility of a conventional hybrid for longer distances.”
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