Electric vehicles gain a little traction in Canada ahead of new model choices

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Electric vehicles gained a little traction last year in Canada but a bigger boost could follow the introduction of new models including Ford’s F-150 Lightning truck that was to be officially unveiled Wednesday evening.

Desrosiers Automotive Consultants says zero-emission vehicles accounted for 3.52 per cent of Canadian new light vehicle registrations in 2020, up from less than one per cent in 2016.

Sales are highly dependent on financial incentives. British Columbia has the highest share of new ZEV sales with battery electric and plug-in hybrids accounting for 8.4 per cent of overall vehicle sales.

Quebec is next at 6.81 per cent, although nearly half of all electric cars in Canada are registered in the province.

B.C. and Quebec account for 76 per cent of all ZEV light vehicle registrations.

Demand in Ontario dropped after provincial incentives were removed, with ZEV penetration moving to 1.75 per cent last year from 1.23 per cent in 2019 and 2.05 per cent in 2018.

“Currently, the ZEV market leans heavily on incentive programs and as incentive programs shift in scope and availability, so too does demand for these vehicles.” stated Andrew King, managing partner of Desrosiers.

The federal Liberal government has been offering cash rebates of up to $5,000 for buying a fully electric car and up to $2,500 for plug-in hybrid models. The maximum purchase price of the lowest-end model can’t be over $45,000.

Various automobile manufacturers are preparing to beef up their electric vehicle lineups in the coming years.

General Motors has set a goal of making the vast majority of the vehicles it produces electric by 2035 while Honda plans to phase out all gasoline-powered vehicles in North America by 2040.

U.S. President Joe Biden test drove an electric F-150 on Tuesday during a visit to a Ford safety testing centre as part of his efforts to sell his US$2-trillion infrastructure plan.

“This sucker’s quick,” the president said, as he rolled up to the travelling press corps.

Ford says the Lightning will hit 60 m.p.h. from a standing start in about 4.5 seconds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2021.