Electric vehicles

As automakers add electrically powered vehicles to their product lines, we are working closely with the public and private sectors to build awareness of electric vehicles (EVs) and ease their transition into the Manitoba marketplace.

By literally "plugging in" to our system, EV owners will help reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions by powering their vehicles with clean, renewable hydroelectricity, instead of burning fossil fuels in traditional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.

Types of electric vehicles

Plug-in hybrid electric Vehicle (PHEV)

  • A PHEV may also be referred to as an extended range electric vehicle.
  • PHEVs are powered with electricity from the power grid as well as an onboard internal combustion engine.
  • PHEV batteries allow these vehicles to make short trips using only electricity. If the battery depletes before an external electricity source is available, the onboard internal combustion engine will start automatically to provide power for the vehicle until the battery can be recharged.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV)

  • A BEV may also be referred to as an all-electric vehicle.
  • BEVs are powered entirely by electricity and produce zero emissions directly.
  • Instead of refuelling at a local gas station, BEVs are charged with electricity from the power grid.

Preparing for electric vehicles

We are planning for the anticipated adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in Manitoba. Electric vehicles have been a part of our fleet since 2006, and we are continuing to take a leading role in evaluating EVs through participation in trials with various manufacturers to ensure that we are prepared to meet the demands of EVs and their owners.

Through our participation in local, national and international EV research studies, we have gained access to valuable research regarding common EV standards and industry practices. The knowledge gained has allowed us to model the potential impacts of EV charging on our system and has led to a better understanding of the requirements needed to support EVs.

Electric bus testing

In addition to our work related to standard electric passenger vehicles, we have collaborated with the Province of Manitoba, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, New Flyer Industries, Winnipeg Transit, and Red River College to develop an all-electric transit bus and charging system.

In March 2014, an electric bus began shuttling Manitoba Hydro employees between offices at 820 Taylor and 360 Portage. Testing was done on the bus's performance under various weather conditions, as well as on the unique overhead charging station, the first of its kind to be installed in Canada.

Play video button

Manitoba electric bus project

Find out how the bus fared in Manitoba's cold winter weather and what it's like to drive an electric bus.

Play video: Manitoba electric bus project. (2:35)

The electric bus has been added to a regular Winnipeg Transit bus route. Four plug-in charging stations have been installed at the Winnipeg Transit garage to support the addition of electric buses to its fleet.

Charging electric vehicles

Manitobans' experience with cold weather and plugging in their vehicles will help ease the transition to adopting electric vehicles (EV). In some circumstances, the existing infrastructure used to power vehicle block heaters in the winter can also be used to provide limited charging for EVs.

However, some existing electrical outlets may not be suitable for EV charging. Residential outlets can be part of a circuit used to power multiple lights and other electrical devices, and could become overloaded if used to charge an EV. A dedicated circuit for EV charging may need to be installed by a licensed electrician in these situations.

Some commercial parking lot outlets operate in a load restricted or cycled manner and using them may result in your EV receiving a lower charge than expected or no charge at all. If a parking stall is not specifically designated for EV use, we recommend that you consult with the parking lot or building manager to ensure it can provide adequate power to your vehicle.

There are 2 levels of charging systems available to Manitobans for use at their homes and businesses:

  • Level 1 AC – These charging systems are compatible with standard 120 volt outlets commonly found in garages and exteriors of homes and businesses. The 120 volt outlets can also be found in parking lots that power your vehicle's block heater.
  • Level 2 AC – These charging systems can be used in a wide range of residential, commercial, and public settings. Level 2 AC charging systems are approximately 2.5 to 5.5 times faster than Level 1 AC charging systems.

Depending on the wiring of your home or business, additional wiring and/or a larger electrical panel may need to be installed by a licensed electrician. Before purchasing a Level 2 AC charging system, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed electrician regarding the equipment's electrical requirements and the potential cost of upgrading your electrical system (if required).

Charging times are highly variable due to a variety of factors including battery size, the amount of remaining energy in the battery when it is plugged in, temperature, and the type of charging equipment used. For information regarding charging systems, charging times, and expected ranges for specific vehicles, refer to the manufacturer's website or consult your local dealer.