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Guide to the electric car: how they work, charging times, driving experience, etc.

Guide to the electric car: how they work, charging times, driving experience, etc.

Electric car guide

Electric cars are increasingly popular… and with reason! However, since this technology is still relatively new on the market, many consumers do not know exactly how electric cars work.

Is this the case for you? Find out more about electric vehicles thanks to our guide, and discover BMW electric vehicles at the same time. You can also take advantage of our current BMW offers, in the West Island of Montreal, a few minutes away from Laval!

What is an electric vehicle exactly?

Generally speaking, we usually say that a fuel vehicle is the opposite of an electric vehicle. In the first case, energy is obtained through the use of a fuel and the combustion of this fuel. In the second case, the vehicle is propelled forward through the energy that is generated through electricity.

Since it does not use any fuel, an electric car does not emit any carbon emissions. Visually, it is easily recognizable mostly due to the absence of an exhaust. For performant sedans with zero carbon emissions, discover the 2022 BMW i4 and i4 M.

Different types of electric cars

Amongst the available electric cars on the market, most are 100 % electric models which utilize a battery -generally lithium-ion-, coupled with one or several electric motors.

Much more rarely, we will find hydrogen vehicle models, which produce electricity by using a fuel cell powered by hydrogen. The Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo models are part of this category.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles are also considered to be electric cars, although their electric motor is coupled with a heat engine. Discover the latest BMW news in order to find out more about the different powertrains utilized by the manufacturer.

How exactly does an electric car work?

An electric vehicle works completely differently from a regular heat engine vehicle, though understanding the basics is not complicated in the least. In fact, an electric powertrain is essentially made up of:

2022 BMW i4 M50 dashboard
  • A battery;
  • One or several electric motors;
  • A stator;
  • A rotor.

Firstly, the battery has a capacity that is expressed in Kilowatt Hour (kWh), which really signifies the amount of energy it is able to stock and send into the motor. When the electric car is activated, the battery sends this energy into the stator, which then creates a magnetic field.

This field will then activate the rotor, whose rotation transforms the magnetic energy into mechanical energy by transmitting it to the electric motor.

As we have mentioned, there are sometimes more than one electric motor. When that is the case, the motors will transmit the energy into the four wheels, which is the equivalent of all-wheel drive! Discover the 2022 BMW iX and iXM, both electric SUVs with four-wheel drive.

Another feature of the electric motor is the regenerative braking: while braking, the mechanical energy is transformed into electricity and it regenerates the battery for optimized electric range.

Are electric cars automatic?

With fuel vehicles, there are two different types of drivetrains: manual or automatic. Are electric cars automatic? Actually, even though they work similarly, they do not require a clutch system; this is because all of the torque is available from the start. This means there is really only one gear.

Moreover, it is one of the advantages of electric vehicles: since they require less mechanical components, they also need much less maintenance.

How to drive an electric car?

To drive an electric vehicle, all you have to do is press on the pedal to go forward and let go of it to slow down. Even though they do not have any gears, electric cars still have a similar gear selector but with the "P", "R", "N" and "D" positions.

Accelerations and braking are particularly quick with electric vehicles and may require some adapting, although they quickly become very intuitive to drive!

2022 BMW iX xDrive40 2022

How to charge an electric vehicle?

Charging an electric car is as simple as charging a cellphone: all you need to do is to plug your car to a charging station.

There are several places where you can charge your electric car. On the one hand, you can plug it at home thanks to a 120 domestic plug or a 240 volt charging station. On the other hand, there is a vast electric circuit of charging stations that will allow you to plug it into a public charging station. Some employers even offer their own charging stations as well.

Domestic charging stations use alternate-current (AC) and transform it into direct current (DC) through a converter that is found inside the electric car. However, some options found in public charging stations feed the battery directly through direct current; these are referred to as quick charging stations.

How much does charging an electric car cost in Quebec?

Charging costs will vary according to if you are using a domestic or public charging station; and keep in mind that quick charging stations will obviously be the most expensive.

However, whatever you choose, it will remain affordable. How much does charging an electric car cost in Quebec? On public charging stations, fees can be charged per hour or per charging sessions. For a standard charging station, it can go up to $ 3/hour or $10/session.

As for quick charging stations, fees will increase according to the charging station's capacity: it ranges from $ 7.31 (24 kW) to $ 35.79 (90 to 100 KW) per hour. You will be charged per second of use.

Total cost for electricity varies according to battery and use. However, for an SUV like the BMW iX, for example, yearly costs are estimated to around $ 369 for 17,000 km.

2022 BMW iX M60

Why purchase an electric car?

Are you still hesitating and are wondering why purchase an electric car? There are several excellent reasons to do so. Firstly, the environmentally friendly aspect is a very important argument. However, it is also an advantageous choice for you, since the cost of electricity is significantly lower than the cost of fuel.

Moreover, electric cars require less mechanical maintenance, like oil changes, for example. In Quebec, there are also several added advantages as well, like toll exemptions and reserved car lanes.

Let's also not forget that electric cars also give you instant accelerations and a much more quiet driving experience.

Government incentives for electric vehicles, both in Quebec and Canada

In the province of Quebec, there are two different incentives for electric vehicles. Firstly, the provincial government will reimburse up to $ 7,000 on vehicles that have a MSRP of under $ 60,000. Moreover, a charging station at home will also be reimbursed for up to $ 600.

As for the federal government, incentives go up to $ 5,000 when purchasing a new car. You should also take note that some discounts are applicable to leased vehicles as well!


All in all, electric cars are not very difficult to understand nor to drive, and they will help you save a lot of money in the mid to long term, on top of being really fun to drive.

Discover the luxurious BMW i7 as well as several other available models at your West Island dealership in Montreal, close to Laval. Reserve your electric BMW with us, and take advantage of customized car financing. Out team of experts will be glad to help and advise you!

2022 BMW iX xDrive50

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