Can I buy a car in Toronto?

Canadians are buying more electric cars and are hoping for continued promotion

Interest varies greatly from region to region

Since Canada introduced incentives to buy vehicles with battery-electric and plug-in hybrid drives, sales have increased steadily. The corona crisis alone led to an initial decline in demand in the 2nd quarter of 2020, which, however, affected all types of vehicle. According to the Ministry of Transport, sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) increased by 50 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year. ZEV thus accounted for three percent of all car sales in 2019. In the 1st quarter of 2020 this rate rose to just under 4 percent, then came the corona slump in the 2nd quarter, which halved ZEV's sales. Nevertheless, the overall sales trend is positive and the acceptance of e-cars among the Canadian population is consolidating.

Most electric cars are sold per capita in the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia. They are currently the only provinces with a combinable, additional funding program for the purchase of an electric car. Ontario, as the most populous province, is in absolute second place in terms of sales of ZEV, but the conservative regional government of Doug Ford cut the provincial funding in July 2018, whereupon the sales of ZEV plummeted.

ZEV funding program got off to a strong start

The Canadian government has been funding purchases of Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) in the light vehicle category since May 2019 with up to 3,800 US dollars (5,000 CAD) under the iZEV program. More than three quarters of the funding budget under iZEV (US $ 230 million) has already been exhausted after a year. About 86 percent of the funds used were in Quebec and British Columbia, and over 53,000 shoppers took advantage of the total discount, the Department of Transportation reports.

In principle a good development if it weren't for the three-year term of the program. If interest in e-cars increases again after the corona crisis, the funding pot will probably be emptied before summer 2022. That is why interest groups such as Electric Mobility Canada are campaigning for the government to increase the budget and expand funding to include used cars and more expensive models. So far, only ZEV new cars below 41,500 US $ (55,000 CAD) have been funded.

The Ministry of Transport counts vehicles with battery operation, plug-in hybrids and vehicles with hydrogen propulsion under ZEV. Light vehicles (gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)) are cars with a weight of 3,856 kilograms or less. The purchase discount is granted to the customer directly by the dealer. The Ministry of Transport has compiled a list of eligible vehicles here.

Ambitious government goals point to continued funding

The liberal Canadian government has committed itself to the carbon-free transport sector, wants to become the global leader in ZEV and wants to massively increase the e-car quotas for car sales in intervals by 2040. The goals set are sporty - still seem a long way off today. By 2025, ZEV should represent 10 percent of all car sales, by 2030 the rate should then increase to 30 percent. After all, in 2040, in just 20 years, only ZEVs are to be sold in Canada in order to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE). Cars currently emit around 11 percent of all GHGs in Canada.

Translated, these goals mean that around 825,000 ZEVs should be driving on Canadian roads in 2025, 2.7 million in 2030 and 14 million ZEV in 2040. If the ambitious goals are followed by even greater efforts in funding, Canada will remain an interesting market for ZEV in the years to come.

The incumbent Transport Minister Garneau has a direct mandate from the Prime Minister to do more to achieve the targets set for sales quotas for e-cars, according to Garneau himself. He is "working hard" to extend and expand the existing funding. In the future, this could also extend to the purchase of used ZEVs. In addition, an increase in the funding budget for ZEV should fit well into the concept of a post-corona economic plan, which according to the newly appointed Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland "must be green" in mid-August! "Decarbonization," said Freeland, "will be an important part of Canada's future economic policy."

The current climate goals for Canada are largely pushed by the Liberals. These are currently operating in a minority government that is not always stable and is dependent on compromises and the approval of parts of the opposition in the case of new bills. Prime Minister Trudeau adjourned parliament in August 2020, putting the vote of confidence, which - depending on the outcome - can lead to elections on September 23. The recently re-elected leadership of the Conservatives, the strongest opposition party and most dangerous competitor of the Liberals, recognizes climate change as a problem, but is less ambitious when it comes to publicly funded climate protection programs. It is likely, but not certain, that funding for electric cars and the expansion of the charging infrastructure will continue in the event of a change of government.

Related Links:

iZEV program