Sales of electric vehicles increase by 60%, but are still below the national target

Electric vehicle sales grew nearly 60% last year, but they still need to pick up the pace to meet the new federal sales mandates expected by the end of this year.

Statistics Canada released the latest quarterly data on new vehicle registrations last Thursday, showing that in the fourth quarter of 2021, plug-in cars and SUVs accounted for more than 6% of new vehicle registrations for the first time, The Canadian Press reports.

Over the year as a whole, 86,000 battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids were sold, representing 5.2% of new registrations. This compares to 54,000 in 2020, representing 3.5% of total vehicle registrations. Five years ago, electric vehicles accounted for less than one in every 100 new cars sold. In 2021, they represented one in 20.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault intends to require that by 2026, electric vehicles represent one in five new passenger vehicles sold. By 2030, it will have to be at least half, and by 2035, all new vehicles sold will have to run on batteries. It is currently developing a nationwide sales quota system that will impose penalties on dealers or automakers who do not sell enough electric vehicles.

“Switching to an electric vehicle is one of the most important things Canadians can do to help fight climate change,” Guilbeault said in a statement to CP.

Passenger cars and trucks produced more than half of road transportation’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, and more than a tenth of Canada’s total emissions that year.

Quebec and British Columbia have already established provincial sales mandates and have benefited from discounts on the purchase price for years. They also lead the pack in overall sales, with 71% of all new electric vehicles in Canada registered in these two provinces in 2021. In the past five years, three out of four electric vehicles were registered in Quebec or Colombia. -British.

In 2021, electric vehicles accounted for 9% of new registrations in Quebec and 11.6% in BC. Ontario was the second highest, at 3%.

All provinces saw growth in electric vehicle registrations in 2021. But that growth falls short of Guilbeault’s new targets. At their current rate, EVs will reach around 15 to 16% of new registrations by the end of 2026.

The national sales mandate should help, but Guilbeault said Thursday the government is investing heavily to help Canada’s auto industry transform to pump electric vehicles, while funding more charging stations and expanding the federal rebate program. for electric vehicles.

Earlier this month, Canary Media dug in disconnections (albeit in the US) to entice auto dealers to sell electric vehicles alongside internal combustion. And Reuters warned that jobs will be at risk at Canadian auto parts makers and repair shops, with mechanics particularly at risk if manufacturers like Tesla maintain a “closed system” that determines who can repair vehicles that already have fewer moving parts and of maintenance needs.

While Tesla says it has an “open source philosophy for much of its patented intellectual property,” Reuters said, the company has lobbied against “right to repair” legislation in Massachusetts that would allow typical mechanics to work. on the on-board computers of the company cars. . But Jamie Keeler, mechanic and sole proprietor at Keeler Automotive in Cannington, Ont., said customers should be able to choose who works on their vehicles.

“If you’re a licensed mechanic, you should be able to fix anything on the road and have access to the software to do it,” he told Reuters.

On Friday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra was due to announce how the government intends to extend this rebate scheme so that more expensive SUVs and vans entering the electric vehicle market can be eligible.

Since rebates began in May 2019, more than 141,000 vehicles have qualified for up to CA$5,000 off the purchase price. As of March 31, $611 million had been spent on rebates.

The recent federal budget added $1.7 billion to maintain these rebates for a few more years and increase the maximum purchase price of eligible vehicles.

The main body of this report was first published by The Canadian Press on April 21, 2022.

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