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Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Electric vehicles lead the charge as one of the most significant ways an individual can take action on climate change.

Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Unlike traditional vehicles, which have internal combustion engines that require gasoline or diesel to run, hybrid and electric vehicles have electric motors. In the case of hybrid vehicles, they have both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. However, electric vehicles have only an electric motor and are powered solely by plugging into the electricity grid.

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles run solely on electricity and are powered by plugging into the electricity grid (e.g. Nissan Leaf) rather than stopping at a gas pump. These vehicles require charging stations with an outlet, similar to what we use for our clothes dryers. After being charged, they can be unplugged and driven. The length of time it takes to charge an electric vehicle depends upon the type of charger used and the battery capacity of the vehicle. When operating on electricity, electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions.

Relying solely on electricity, these vehicles usually have a driving range of less than 200 kilometers before needing to be recharged. However, these technologies are improving and many manufacturers are investing significantly in increasing the driving range of electric vehicles and improving their performance in harsh weather conditions.

If you are interested in learning more about electric vehicle technology, the infrastructure needed to support these vehicles, and how they have been evolving locally and in markets around the globe, you can view a report developed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrids offer superior fuel efficiency because they do not always rely on the combustion engine to run. There are two different types of hybrid vehicles:

  • Parallel hybrids - Both the combustion engine and the electric motor power the drivetrain, which moves the vehicle (e.g. Honda Insight). These vehicles are more efficient at higher speeds, such as during highway driving.
  • Series hybrids - The combustion engine powers the electric motor and the electric motor powers the drivetrain (e.g. Chevrolet Volt). These vehicles are more efficient at lower speeds, such as during city driving.

For most hybrid options, the electric motor is charged by the combustion engine. However, there are plug-in hybrids (e.g. Toyota Prius) where owners can re-charge the electric motor by plugging it in to the electricity grid. This can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions when the source of electricity is clean, such as hydroelectricity, which is the case in most of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Many modern hybrids also use regenerative braking, which converts the energy used during the stopping process back into electricity for the vehicle. With regenerative braking, hybrids are able to recycle energy and reduce fuel consumption.

Case Study

plugging in electric car

Green Rock Electric Vehicle Solutions (E.V.S.) is Newfoundland and Labrador's first 100% electric vehicle dealer and service centre. Since opening its doors in 2013, Green Rock has been focused on providing a complete range of affordable all-electric transportation solutions. From electric bikes and scooters to electric cars and charging stations, this innovative business is here to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, and in jurisdictions where most electricity comes from clean, renewable sources, they generate next to no emissions at all. Upwards of 85% of the electricity we use in Newfoundland and Labrador is GHG emission-free, and this will rise to 98% when Muskrat Falls comes on stream in 2018. Green Rock E.V.S has sold over 20 vehicles to date, which have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 tonnes!

In this section

Buying an Efficient Vehicle
Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
Driving Efficiently