Zero emission vehicles |  encouraging progress

Zero emission vehicles | encouraging progress

The federal government, which has pledged to stop selling new gasoline-powered cars by 2035, is on the right track, but there’s still a long way to go, experts say.

Posted at 6:00 am

Delphine Belzile

Delphine Belzile

Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) accounted for 7.7% of newly registered motor vehicles in the first quarter of the year, according to Statistics Canada. Canadians bought more than 26,000 new ZEVs in the first three months of the year, a 50.5% increase from the same period in 2021.

The proportion of new ZEVs on the road increased by 32% between 1Ahem quarter 2020 and the 1Ahem quarter of 2021. Climbed to 68% between 1Ahem quarter of 2021 and the 1Ahem quarter of 2022, according to the federal agency.

If the trend continues, ZEV sales growth is promising, says Daniel Breton, president and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada.

Remember that the federal government has set a goal for ZEV sales to reach 20% of new vehicle sales in 2026 and 60% in 2030. Thus, 100% of light vehicle sales will be zero emissions in 2035.

There is no shortage of demand: Some 71% of Canadians are considering electric cars for their next purchase, according to a recent survey conducted for KPMG. “Canadians are ready to make the transition,” says Andréanne Brazeau, a mobility analyst at Équiterre, who believes rising gas prices play into the hands of electric cars.

For his part, Robert Poëti, president and general manager of the Quebec Automobile Dealers Corporation (CCAQ), believes that it is still early to know if the government’s goal will be reached in 2035. One thing is certain: the car manufacturers they can’t provide everything they’d like, he says.

market pressure

Transport Canada forecasts more than 300,000 ZEV sales in 2026, around 1,200,000 in 2030 and more than 2,000,000 in 2035.

Production problems continue to cause a drop in ZEV supply, says Robert Poëti. Shortages of labor and parts have weakened the supply chain and delayed deliveries since the pandemic.

Wait times for the most popular models can be up to two years. Currently, this is not encouraging.

Robert Poëti, President and CEO of the Quebec Automobile Dealers Corporation

In addition to the shortage, the supply of ZEV is unbalanced in the country, says Daniel Breton. Automakers are prioritizing deliveries to regions where there are regulations, to avoid supply penalties, he explains.

For example, Quebec, which regulates the market for zero-emission vehicles, receives almost half of all electric vehicles sold in Canada, says Robert Poëti.

According to Daniel Breton, regulation of the Canadian automotive market in ZEVs would require manufacturers to supply territories and provinces with a minimum number of battery electric or plug-in hybrid cars.

Last spring, Ottawa unveiled its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which sets a “zero emissions” standard across Canada to force automakers to improve their ZEV offerings. This standard must be adopted as soon as possible to guarantee the electrification of transport throughout the country, emphasizes Andréanne Brazeau. Currently, only Quebec and British Columbia have regulations on the supply of ZEVs.

Québec at the forefront

Zero-emission vehicles accounted for 1% of car market sales in Canada in 2017. That proportion topped 5% last year, Statistics Canada says.

In Quebec alone, the number of ZEVs increased from 6,548 to 36,800 between 2017 and 2021. With more than 10,000 zero emission vehicles registered between January and March 2022, the province ranks first in the country.

As part of its Roulez vert program, Quebecers are eligible for a $7,000 rebate on the purchase of an electric car, plus a $5,000 bonus from the federal government.

Infrastructure and technology hurdles are holding back consumers who would like to switch to electric cars. Charging time appears to be the biggest issue, with more than half of Canadians refusing to wait more than 20 minutes to charge their battery. 79% give up making the transition if the car cannot travel 400 kilometers without recharging, according to KPMG.

More information

  • 26,018
    Number of zero emission cars registered in the first quarter of 2022

    Canada Statistics

    Proportion of new zero-emission vehicles in circulation in 2021

    Canada Statistics

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