top of page

Electric Vehicles in Canada

As the industry grows, a variety of electric vehicles (EVs) are now available on different global markets. In general, EVs are finding a place in people’s life’s more and more as technology improves. Although EVs continue to grow in global markets, emergence in Canada and the United States has been slower compared to other markets, such as Europe and China. The main reasons for this include the limited model selection, a lack of charging infrastructure, and a lack of governmental generosity in facing this innovative technology.


The second leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in Canada is related to transportation, and almost half of those emissions come from cars and trucks. To this end, using zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) could be extremely helpful in reducing GHG emissions. A ZEV is a vehicle that has the potential to produce no GHG emissions, and it can reduce total GHG emissions by 45% to 98% compared to gasoline vehicles. Different types of ZEVs include battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Though only less than 3% of all new vehicle sales in Canada are electric, climate change experts imply that more than 40% of vehicles should be electric by 2040 if the government wants to keep global warming increases under 2 degrees. Moreover, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has emphasized that Canada will meet its goal to cut emissions by 30% from 2005 to 2030.


In this case, the government has to be more considerate in facing this phenomenon. As the price of an EV is about $10,000 to $20,000 more than a similar gasoline vehicle, people may not have the motivation to buy EVs unless the government can provide some additional benefits, including tax reductions for EV drivers. The other leading challenge facing Canada’s government has been how to allocate charging stations. Based on recent surveys, most people would prefer at least one charging station next to each gasoline station. The government therefore has to provide enough infrastructures incentives as long as it wants to keep the public satisfied. To overcome these issues, the government plans on offering rebates to ZEV consumers, and putting up C$150 million to build charging stations. The government is also responsible for raising public awareness about EVs, and answering the publics questions; such as how far EVs can go without charging, how they can reach a charging station, etc.

Canada Post's Zero Emissions Electric Vehicle. Image Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B9eSyXkhh0


Currently, only three EVs are manufactured in Canada, including a Toyota hybrid SUV, a plug-in hybrid minivan by Chrysler, and a Lexus hybrid; and none of them are completely fuel-free. However, several recent improvements suggest a change to electric vehicles may be coming. In recent months, the combination of Biden’s presidency with a Democratic-led congress, and the COVID-19 pandemic, has convinced Canada to start making changes. Biden has a plan to transit the USA to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050; and Canada, as a neighbor and ally, could work with the USA on cross-border solutions to speed the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles. To follow this goal, more than three global manufacturers have brought their investments to Canada’s market in the past six months. General Motors stated that it is going to invest nearly C$1 billion to produce electric commercial vans in Ingersoll, Ontario. While the Ford Motor Company has a plan to invest C$1.2 billion to start creating five battery-powered cars in Oakville, Ontario, from 2025.


Fiat Chrysler also said that it will invest around C$1.5 billion to build its electric vehicle platform in Canada. While Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, one of the most well-known EV companies in the world, has never mentioned any interests in opening a branch in Canada, Tesla has been cooperating with a group of researchers at Dalhousie University to develop battery cells with a million-mile lifespan. In addition to individual investors, the government is also involved in developing these EV projects. As an example, Ford is expected to receive subsidies around C$295 million from both the federal, and Ontario governments. With its new concentration on EVs, Canada is joining 13 other countries that have set policies and rules for the manufacturing and sales of combined engine vehicles. Until now, Canada has also been a leader in the production and improvement of hydrogen fuel cells, which may challenge the current battery technology for supremacy in the world of zero-emission vehicles. Additionally, the abundant resources for clean electricity in Canada may give it an advantage over countries such as China, that still use fossil-fuel power generation on a wide range.

Given the fact that 18 metric tons of GHG per person were produced in Canada in 2018, one could concluded that Canadians are addicted to their gasoline vehicles. However, 68% of Canadians who decide to buy a new vehicle within the next five years said they would prefer to buy an EV. Also, 77% of people in British Columbia, and 75% people in Quebec, imply that they are looking for an EV on the market. Nearly 80% of those aged 18 to 44 say that they are very interested in buying an EV in the next five years. In addition, 42% of those people interested in buying an EV in the next five years are prepared to pay between C$30,000 and C$49,000, and 20% will spend more than C$75,000. These numbers indicate that the Canadian people, especially the newest generation, are interested in electric vehicles, and Canada’s government can rely on its people's support for its future plans and goals around EVs and GHG emissions.


References

[2] “The Canada/US Electric Vehicle Market: Navigating the Road Ahead”, Td, https://economics.td.com/ca-electric-vehicle

[3] “Canada's EV agenda gets supercharged by green plans from Biden, Detroit 3”, Automotive News, https://www.autonews.com/mobility-report/canadas-ev-agenda-gets-supercharged-green-plans-biden-detroit-3

[5] “Electric Vehicles Available in Canada - CAA National”, CAA National, https://www.caa.ca/sustainability/electric-vehicles/electric-vehicles-available-in-canada/

[5] “Report: Canada to Mine Materials for More North America–Built EVs”, Car and Driver, https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a35895619/canada-mine-ev-minerals/

[6] “Canada Catches Up in the Race to Produce Zero-Emission Vehicles”, NY Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/world/canada/canada-zero-emission-vehicles.html

Comments


bottom of page