Canada takes boldest stance on electric vehicles yet

Canada recently released the first details of its flagship policy to achieve one of its most ambitious climate goals to date — by 2035, every new car sold in the country must be emissions-free. While ambitious, Canada may very well achieve the milestone within the next 12 years. 

Despite veterans like Tesla saturating Canada over the years, the country’s EV sector is still in its early stages. In 2021, only 5.6% of new cars sold in Canada were electric. In comparison, EVs comprised 19% of new car sales in the UK. EVs are even more impressive across the EU and in China, where they accounted for 17% and 16% of new car sales, respectively.

As noted in a report from The Toronto Star, government action and electric vehicle policies have had a notable effect on the sales of EVs across Canada’s provinces. In British Columbia, for example, one in five new cars sold in Q3 2022 was electric, but in Ontario, the ratio was one in 13. Thus, the federal government of Canada announced proposed regulations to achieve its zero-emission vehicle sales targets to even the playing field among provinces.

The new policy in Canada requires automakers to increase the percentage of electric vehicles available for sale in the country. This is because while measures aimed at promoting the adoption of EVs may have no issues stimulating demand, they do not address the issue of supply. A federal policy that pushes automakers to increase their EV supply in Canada would then allow more customers in the country to opt-in for an electric vehicle. 

Such a strategy would likely be appreciated by consumers. As per a poll conducted by Clean Energy Canada and Abacus Data, 59% of Canadians already believe that EVs will ultimately cost less to own than combustion-powered cars when considering all costs. This belief is supported by studies that have shown that EVs can save drivers thousands of dollars in comparison to gas cars over the vehicle’s lifetime. 

In a press release, the government also announced a number of investments that should make EV ownership easier for residents.

Invested in 50,000 more EV charging stations across the country, for almost 85,000 federally-funded chargers across Canada by 2027. This is in addition to charging stations supported by provincial governments and the private sector.

Renewed the program that provides Canadians up to CA$5,000, and businesses up to CA$10,000, toward the cost of buying or leasing a ZEV. Over 180,000 individuals and businesses have taken advantage of this program to date.

Making historic investments in EV manufacturing in Canada, which will mean made-in-Canada ZEVs by Canadian auto workers and for Canadian drivers to buy.

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport shared his thoughts on the proposed regulations. 

“Helping Canadians make the switch to zero-emission vehicles is crucial for reaching our climate goals: it keeps our air clean and helps people save money, all while positioning Canada as a leader on building cleaner vehicles. Today’s announcement is a key deliverable under Canada’s Action Plan for Clean On-Road Transportation. These regulations will help to ensure Canada can meet its ambitious ZEV sales targets, reduce pollution on our roads, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050,” Alghabra said. 

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