How Does Canada Feel About Electric Vehicles?
The market for electric vehicles has grown rapidly in recent years and is expected to continue to grow at a fast pace over the coming decade. Electric car sales in the United States increased from a mere 0.2% of total car sales in 2011 to 4.6% in 2021.
But not everyone is so excited about the EV revolution. In fact, one country is lagging far behind other countries when it comes to EV adoption. In this article, we’ll take a look at Canada’s resistance to EV adoption and some things that might be affecting their resistance to EVs.
EVs are the future of the global automotive economy
EV sales doubled across the globe in 2021 and jumped 55% in 2022, which accounted for 13% of all vehicle sales. EV sales in China reached 27% of total vehicles sold in 2022. And in Europe, EV sales made up just over 20% of all sales.
Meanwhile, in the US, EV sales increased to more than 7% of all vehicle sales in 2022. Additionally, there is legislation that is propelling EVs into the future as well, and some car companies are pledging to become entirely EV by 2035 such as Volkswagen and GM.
These figures don’t sound particularly impressive, but when you figure in slow production due to supply chain issues, it’s nothing short of miraculous. However, Canada isn’t so eager to adopt EVs.
Canada is slow to adopt EVs
Canadian car consumers are more dismissive of electric vehicles, with almost two-thirds saying they will not consider one for their next purchase. Meanwhile, an increasing percentage of Americans are contemplating battery-powered vehicles as their next car.
According to Yahoo News, J.D. Power Canada’s second electric vehicle consideration survey, 66% of Canadian customers are “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to consider an EV for their next purchase, up from 53% last year.
In the United States, 61% of respondents said they would consider purchasing an electric car this year, up from 59% in 2022. Concerns regarding pricing and infrastructure continue to hold back the Canadian market, resulting in a drop in the number of buyers considering an EV.
Factors that could be affecting the resistance to electric vehicles in Canada
One of the main concerns for Canadians is the expected range per charge. It was the most common complaint cited by respondents at 63%, followed by cost to purchase at 59%, and lack of available charging infrastructure at 55%.
This is a valid concern considering the vast land mass that makes up Canada. Couple that with the harsh winters, and it’s easy to see why Canadians wouldn’t want to find themselves without a charging station in the dead of winter.
According to S&P Global, zero-emission car registrations in Canada fell from a record high at the end of last year in the first quarter of 2023. In the first quarter, the total market share of battery electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles was 9.1%, down from 10.2% in the previous quarter.
High loan rates and inflation could further restrict electric car sales, putting Ottawa’s aim of at least 20% zero-emission vehicles delivered by 2026 in jeopardy. This calls into question Ottawa’s mandate of 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.
A large investment and coordination efforts between manufacturers and politicians are going to be required to solve concerns of cost, capability, and infrastructure in order to meet national and provincial EV sales objectives.
EVs have definitely gotten a slow start with consumers in general. However, longer range and better availability of charging stations as well as faster charging is going a long way in winning over those that were once hesitant.
Canada has its work cut out for it with regard to persuading its citizens to adopt EVs. However, if manufacturers can make them more affordable and the local government can improve the charging infrastructure, perhaps Canadian consumers will re-evaluate their stance on EVs.