By the year 2035, automakers will be legally required to sell only zero-emission vehicles in Canada, with interim regulated sales targets of 20 per cent by 2026 and 60 per cent by 2030. A first draft of the legislation was published in December, while the details and stringency of the policy remain up for debate.

If that sounds ambitious, consider the fact that many jurisdictions — including the EU, the U.K., 17 U.S. states, B.C. and Quebec — have already committed to even stronger regulations. Today, EV availability in B.C. and Quebec is four times higher than it is in Ontario, a province without requirements.

And yet, even with Canada’s comparatively soft version of the policy, many automakers have been quick to descend on Ottawa, pressuring the government to further defang its zero-emission vehicle regulation.

Of course, the federal government should make its policies and decisions based on evidence, not misinformation from lobbyists representing their bottom lines.

In 2019, Canada had the worst record in the world for average fuel economy and carbon emissions per kilometre driven.

This isn’t because Canadians don’t want to drive electric vehicles. Six in 10 Canadians already believe, correctly, that an EV would ultimately save them money.

The real problem is accessibility. Studies show that across Canada, fewer than one in five dealerships had a single EV in stock in 2022, with almost 40 per cent of dealers having wait times of more than six months.

Canada has a supply problem, not a demand problem, and the best way to address it is by requiring automakers to keep up. B.C. did just that in 2019. As of 2022, almost one in five new vehicles purchased in the province was electric.

In the past, allowing the industry to follow its own timelines simply hasn’t worked to make more EVs available for Canadians, nor to get us on track with our emissions objectives. In 2005, the federal government signed a voluntary agreement with the auto industry in which they vowed to decrease their annual emissions by 5.3 megatonnes by 2010. Because this was voluntary and there was no penalty for falling short, they missed the mark — by 95 per cent.

Carbon pollution aside, one of the best reasons for Canada to implement strong zero-emission vehicle requirements is they make EVs more affordable for Canadians, write @MarkZacharias7 and Daniel Breton @EMC_MEC #ZEV #EV #canpoli #ev #zev #batteries

Carbon pollution aside, one of the best reasons for Canada to implement strong zero-emission vehicle requirements is that they make EVs more affordable for Canadians.

A recent study found that a regulated sales target would lead to a 20 per cent reduction in EV prices, as automakers would need to deliver more affordable models to Canadians, not just luxury options, in order to hit their targets.

EVs are also long-term money savers. According to a Clean Energy Canada study released last year, a typical EV will save its driver between $10,000 to $20,000 over eight years, and that’s factoring in the higher purchase price.

Helping matters further, a recent price war triggered by Tesla has driven EV prices down by more than seven per cent over the past year. For example, Ford dropped the price of the premium trim of its popular Mustang Mach-E from $75,745 to $67,245.

In the United States — thanks to increased competition, new government incentives and falling battery material prices — EVs could match gasoline cars on sticker price this year. If that sounds hard to believe, keep in mind that in the past five years, prices for some of the most popular gas vehicles, from the Ford F-150 to the Honda Civic, have increased by roughly 30 per cent to well over 50 per cent in some cases.

The question for us is, will Canadians be able to find an electric alternative?

Regulated sales targets will make EVs more available and even more affordable for Canadians in every province. Many automakers, like Ford and Tesla, saw where the puck was going and are now reaping the benefits of early action, capturing market share and shifting to mass production with better economies of scale.

Canada should not weaken its zero-emission vehicle sales targets for those automakers that miscalculated the future. Weaker policy might help their quarterly earnings, but it certainly won’t help Canadians drive cleaner, more affordable vehicles.

Mark Zacharias is the executive director of Clean Energy Canada. Daniel Breton is the president and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada.

Keep reading

There seems to be a reluctance by automakers to produce EVs and only offer token EV replacements. I think part of the reluctance is that without fossil fuel vehicles, it takes a bite out of the service revenue of the dealer ships. That's not to say that EVs don't need service, it likely isn't as lucrative.

As long as the Liberals retain control in Ottawa, they should hold fast on their targets and EV requirements. I fear should the conservatives gain power; all of this will be reversed. Again, if young people think the conservatives are the answer to climate change, they are heading towards a major disappointment.

Jason Kenney's disasterous win in 2019 prompted us to buy an EV....and we love our Kona. I've never been that great at math, but it mystifies me how bad most folks are at it.......for all their tax whining.

I knew instinctively that not buying gas would save us money. Since we do have solar, we installed our own stage 2 charger, and started banking the money we'd formerly spent on gas.......and maintenance.

But for those dealerships, a good part of the squeeze is that they make most of their money on maintaining the ICE cars they sell. The hidden truth is that ICE cars have too many moving parts, too many diddley things designed to go wrong.........and so selling the cars was not where the big bucks lay. It was in warranty scams and general maintenance.

EV dealerships are going to have to work out other arrangements with the EV manufacturers. Because there's a lot less expensive upkeep with an EV.....why no one advertises on that fact, isn't hard to figure out.

Automakers have always resisted change and were slow to act once government forced change. Witness the resistance to air bags and every attempt to regulate fuel efficiency and emissions. And still, despite years of believing leaders would actually lead, we have light trucks and SUVs that were allowed to escape emissions targets years ago and dominate vehicle sales. Such is the power of industry's sway over governments at every level through lobbying and political donations.

As the result we have a terrible safety record on the roads, with road infrastructure so vast it threatens to bankrupt some cities, and, of course, a climate catastrophe in the wings created, in part, with a major contribution by the mushrooming demand and lifestyle marketing for SUVs by the auto industry.

To urbanists, there is little else that contributes more to compromised principles than to see big, shiny F150s never used for hauling more than groceries and gym bags and driven by (mostly) males with comically obvious insecurity complexes. The same observation applies to single-occupant Teslas operating on the combustion of debt payments while stuck in suburban traffic gridlock side-by-side with the drivers of gasoline cars commonly denigrated by highbrow Musk worshippers.

Walkable, transit-rich communities do not need EVs, at least not many. They also can negate a large proportion of property taxes that cover roads and (much too often free) public parking, both of which require the consumption of vast tracts of expensive urban land and constant maintenance. Policies that result in walkable communities are vastly superior as a climate policy than focusing the most attention on underpinning EVs, which are still part of our car dependency problem.

Grants for EV buyers should still be enacted, but be graduated in accordance to size and weight (bigger & heavier = less grant), and come with a time limit that ends somewhere between 2030-35. The purpose of this grant system would be to support a parallel electrification effort in the domestic economy, while also re-shoring and building new industry and power generation infrastructure based on renewables while providing assistance to workers to make the transition. What oil sands worker would object to an equivalent position in a green heavy steel plant operating on electrolysis or green hydrogen making railway tracks for intercity transit?

In the meantime, tax the hell out of SUVs and "light" trucks. Double the tax for combustion. Tax them out of existence. There is no viable need or justification for them to operate as a form of human transport when walkable, mixed use neighbourhoods and transit are expanding, with the exception of commercial and farm use. This calls into question the viability of auto-suburbia, and rightfully so.

Here's a really informative video on this topic. 'These Stupid Trucks are Literally Killing Us.'

The uptake of EVs as a percentage of new vehicle sales in Norway, a northern, oil producing nation, was ~80% in 2022. In Alberta it was 1.0%. One of the things Norway did to increase the number of EVs was to impose taxes on large, ICE vehicles. This, along with the higher operating costs of ICE cars and trucks, makes EVs much more attractive to the consumer. We could do well to emulate many of Norway's policies.