Quebec is the sixth largest market in the world for the market penetration of EVs with a share now at 6.36% and climbing. Norway is far ahead of everyone with 47% penetration, with Iceland second at just over 10.8% followed by California (7.8%), Sweden (7.4%) and the Netherlands (7.0%).
According to the AVEQ (Association des véhicules électriques du Québec), there are just over 66,000 EVs on the road in Quebec right now, but a big concern for many consumers continues to be price point. We chose two of the more-affordable EVs for our comparison.
2019 Nissan LEAF
The LEAF is a pioneer in the world of EVs and the best-selling electric vehicle in the world. The range it offered was not questioned in its early days has slowly gotten less impressive in the face of newer, more-efficient models and Nissan has had to react with a LEAF Plus model designed to catch up on the range front. For many buyers, however, the less-expensive basic version may be enough for their needs.
The entry-level model does promises 240 km of range (it’s about 360 for the LEAF Plus), and this year it gets Nissan’s new rear-door alert system. It reminds the driver to check if the rear seats are empty. The LEAF is still available in S, SV and SL versions. Prices have gone up this year, however.
All versions offer the same electric motor that delivers 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque and a 1-speed transmission. This second-generation LEAF introduced a one-pedal system that uses regenerative braking to perform most of the stopping work, reducing brake wear.
The features of the basic S version include 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps. There are also automatic LED headlights, heated exterior mirrors and LED daytime running lights. The passive keyless entry system is also included, as well as automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, four-way driver and front passenger seat settings, fabric seats and heated leather steering wheel.
You also get a 4-speaker audio system with a 5.0-inch touch screen, satellite radio and a USB input.
The SV version adds 17-inch alloy wheels as well as fog lights. Other features include a garage door opener, automatic high beams and an electronic parking brake.
Inside, the LEAF SV offers an 8-way adjustable driver seat with lumbar support, 7.0-inch multimedia display, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a 6-speaker audio system.
Finally, SL models feature a 360-degree outdoor camera system, leather seats and a 7-speaker audio system.
Advanced security features are included in the SV and SL models, which get blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning. There’s also the ProPilot Assist system, considered an advanced intelligent cruise control system that helps keep you centered in your lane.
On the road, it takes a little getting used to the e-Pedal that enforces changes to your driving habits, but it quickly becomes second nature. The LEAF focuses on comfort and a smooth suspension; it’s also surprisingly resilient and able to cope with our infamous Canadian roads with ease and the drive delivers enough punch to keep a smile on your face as you scoot pas the gas pump.
2019 Volkswagen e-Golf
After setting its sights on and devoting huge sums of money to diesel technologies, Volkswagen, caught tricking software on its diesel models, has changed its tune and is firmly committed to going green.
While we await the new models from the I.D range of all-electric vehicles that should start pouring forth as of next year, VW offers the e-Golf.
This electric version of the popular Golf replaces the turbocharged gas engine with an electric motor and a battery that promises 200 km of range. For 2019, the e-Golf is unchanged, safe for a slightly redesigned front bumper and an expanded exterior paint options list that now includes 40 colours.
The powertrain of the e-Golf delivers a total output of 136 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque. It's not the most powerful in the family, but in return it’s clean and you don’t spend a dime at the pump.
The e-Golf is only available as a five-door model. Standard equipment includes an 8-inch multimedia touchscreen, keyless passive entry, auto-dimming rear view mirror and automatic climate control. Also included are heated fabric seats, heated windshield, LED headlights and taillights, rear view camera and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
VW also lets you option in leather seats and a technological package including a larger touch screen with gesture control and wireless smartphone/tablet integration.
A driver’s assistant package provides active safety features such as blind spot assist, cruise control, collision avoidance system with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, traffic-jam and parking assist and a group of fully digital configurable gauges that looks a lot like Audi's virtual cockpit.
Of all the electric vehicles on the road, e-Golf is at the top of the list for driving pleasure. The e-Golf keeps the likable driving dynamics that made the reputation of the brand and that many buyers are looking for. You’ll almost forget you’re driving an electric vehicle. The power is there and the handling is precise, responsive and delivers strong feedback beautiful sensations.
It’s clear that in both cases, you’ll not get more than 125 to 130 km of range during the winter. But not everyone needs a 400-km range. If your daily traveling distance is fixed and 200 km are enough for you in the summer, here are two vehicles that will give you more bang for your buck.
Advantage Nissan LEAF
The LEAF wins in terms of range with 242 km versus 201 for the e-Golf. It’s also the one that offers the most power with 147 total hp versus 134 for the e-Golf.
Advantage Volkswagen e-Golf
Behind the wheel, the e-Golf is more fun to drive and its widely-known look and strong appeal are big selling points for many buyers. The e-Golf also offers better warranty coverage than the LEAF.
The starting prices are virtually identical, and both models offer the advantage of being very practical hatchback cars.
Keeping in mind that long trips will be complicated affairs with both of these EVs, our choice goes to the e-Golf, which despite its more-limited range offers geuine driving pleasure that places it a notch above the LEAF. That said, it's a matter of preference, because the LEAF is also pretty positive to drive and a very good choice.
2019 Nissan LEAF
We like less
Menu on the screen is a bit complicated
A style that does not please everyone
2019 Volkswagen e-Golf
Practical cargo space
We like less
Not many for sale at dealerships
|2019 Volkswagen e-Golf||2019 Nissan LEAF|
|Transmission||1-speed auto||1-speed auto|
|Range||201 km||242 km|
|Output||134 hp||147 hp|
|Torque||214 lb-ft||236 lb-ft|
|Cargo space||460 L, 1 490 L||668 L, 850 L|
|Length||4268 mm||4480 mm|
|Width||1799 mm||1790 mm|
|Height||1443 mm||1560 mm|
|Wheelbase||2637 mm||2700 mm|
|Warranty||4 yrs/80,000 km||3 yrs/60,000 km|