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Business: Industrial

Electricity – Battery-electric and hybrid vehicles

What are electric vehicles?
Benefits
Applications
Availability and Cost
Safety and Performance
Links

Benefits

Environmental

Battery-electric vehicles produce essentially no pollutants or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the tailpipe or through fuel evaporation. But the production of electricity used to charge the batteries can have environmental costs.

Generating stations fuelled by coal, oil and natural gas produce carbon dioxide – the principal GHG – and pollutants such as particulate matter, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Fortunately, almost 60 percent of Canada's electricity is produced using hydroelectric generators, which create little air pollution. Another 15 percent is generated by nuclear reactors, which also produce very little air pollution.

Societal and economic

HEVs do produce GHG emissions, but such emissions are fewer than those from conventional gasoline vehicles. HEVs generally reduce GHG emissions from vehicle operation and decrease upstream emissions by about 30 percent compared with conventional gasoline vehicles.

HEVs do not need to charge using external electricity (which may or may not produce emissions) because they use regenerative braking, the energy produced from coasting, and the gasoline engine to recharge their batteries.