It’s Nearly Impossible to Buy Electric Vehicles in Canada

You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone driving a plug-in electronic vehicle in Canada, and it’s not because the temperatures are too cold to accommodate them. According to a new report by Clean Energy Canada, Stuck in Neutral: Tracking the Energy Revolution 2017, “In 2016, just 0.6 percent of car sales in Canada were for electric vehicles, well behind the U.S., U.K., China and other world-leading nations (Norway’s market share is a whopping 28.8 percent).”

Canadians purchased just 11,000 EVs in 2016. Compare that to Americans, who bought 159,000. Adjusting for population, Canada’s EV sales should have been around 17,500.

One of the problems is that it takes a really long time for these cars to be delivered. If you want a Chevy Bolt, for example, you’ll have to wait eight months to get it. Americans also have to wait for EVs, and there aren’t many options if consumers want to pay less than $50,000 (there’s the Bolt, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt). Unfortunately, electric cars won’t cost the same as gas-powered vehicles for about a decade.

Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, told CTV News: “The only way we will get to a point where an electric car is an equivalent or cheaper price than a gas car is if we can achieve a certain scale of production and to achieve that production we need to do more to make it easier for consumers to choose electric vehicles.”

Woynillowicz told Vice that people who work at dealerships have little knowledge about EVs and tend to persuade car buyers to purchase gasoline or hybrid vehicles instead. Even though there are nearly 100 electric vehicle models available globally, Canadians only have access to 27 models. And most dealerships don’t have any available on site for test drives. How many people want to purchase a car they haven’t driven in person?

Canada’s transportation sector contributes largely to carbon pollution (coming in second only to the oil and gas sector). Increasing sales of EVs will enable the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Stuck in Neutral notes that another one of the issues is the lack of EV charging stations in the country. While there are 12,000 gasoline service stations from coast to coast, there are only 1,200 dedicated EV charging stations.

In 2015, one-third of Canadians expressed interest in buying an EV. But many still aren’t aware of the benefits. According to Ergon Energy EVs are much less expensive to run, are much cheaper to maintain, are better for the environment, and they reduce harmful emissions.


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