About electric and hydrogen vehicles

Find out what an electric vehicle is, why you might want to drive one and where you can get more information.

Notice: On July 3, 2018, Ontario cancelled the cap and trade program. Given the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program and the Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Programs are funded through cap-and-trade proceeds, these programs are cancelled. Click on the following link for additional information.

What is an electric vehicle?

driving an electric vehicle An electric vehicle (EV) is any vehicle that is partially or entirely powered by electricity and plugs in to recharge. EVs build on proven hybrid technology and offer even greater reductions in fuel consumption and emissions than conventional hybrids.

There are two types of electric vehicles for sale in Ontario:

  • Battery electric vehicles, or BEVs:
    • run only on a battery and an electric drive train
    • plug into an external source of electricity to recharge
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs:
    • plug into an external source of electricity to recharge
    • also use an internal combustion engine should the battery run low

Why drive a (HFCV)?

HFCVs are vehicles that derive energy by converting the chemical energy stored in hydrogen into electrical energy, which powers an electric motor similar to that found in an electric vehicle.

HFCVs are an emerging zero-emissions transportation technology – they can be refuelled in about five minutes and release no harmful tailpipe emissions when driven – the only by-product of converting hydrogen gas into electricity is water.

Why drive an Electric or Hydrogen Vehicle?

With an electric or hydrogen vehicle you can:

icon of money Save money. You will use less (or no) fuel and benefit from lower maintenance and operating costs. EV owners can also take advantage of lower electricity rates when you charge at off-peak times.
Icon of green licence plate Enjoy green licence plates. These plates identify you as an electric or hydrogen vehcle owner and allow you to drive in all provincial high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes - even with only one person in the vehicle.
icon of a green car Help make Ontario greener. By consuming less (or no) fuel, you will help reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants and greenhouse gases.
icon of a car recharging Recharge easily. You can recharge your EV at home or at public charging locations. HFCVs can be refuelled in about five minutes at a refueling station.
icon of a road Get where you need to go. BEVs can typically travel at least 100 kilometres on a single charge, and PHEVs can generally travel more than 500 kilometres using a combination of battery and gasoline engine technology. HFCV’s have a zero-emissions range of over 400 kilometres.

Benefits of electric and hydrogen vehicle ownership


Help your employees make green transportation choices by providing EV charging at work.

Purchase Electric or Hydrogen Vehicles for your business fleet. Benefits to your company could include:

Automotive Dealerships

Dealerships are key sources of information for drivers looking to buy an electric or hydrogen vehicle. By promoting electric or hydrogen vehicles, you can:

  • help your customers understand the benefits of electric or hydrogen vehicles so they can make more sustainable choices and save money
  • help reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants and greenhouse gases in your community


Show customers your green side by installing EV charging for their convenience. It could establish your business as a green destination in your community and give customers one more reason to visit you.

Condo boards and Property Managers

Electric car charging in multi-unit residential buildings will be in high demand in the near future. Condo boards and property management companies that are prepared will stay ahead of the curve and attract EV drivers as tenants and owners.

You can get three LEED points for the installation of EV chargers, helping you maintain a green building and demonstrate your commitment to a sustainable Ontario.

Installing charging in condos can present unique challenges but planning and proper placement will eliminate risks and help keep costs down.


There are many ways municipalities can promote electric or hydrogen vehicles, from installing public charging and special parking spots for electric or hydrogen vehicles to informing the public about the electric or hydrogen vehicles already in use in your corporate fleet.

The benefits of promoting electric or hydrogen vehicles in your community could include:

  • reducing the health and environmental effects of traffic, as electric or hydrogen vehicles emit far fewer harmful air pollutants than regular cars
  • reaching municipal greenhouse gas reduction goals
  • encouraging electric or hydrogen vehicles as a viable option for your residents' personal transportation needs through visible public charging in your community
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