Acting President & CEO, Electric Mobility Canada
With rapid advances in batteries and other technologies and increasingly supportive legislation and policies, Canada is starting to join the global shift to cleaner and electric-powered transportation. For over 20 years, Canadian companies and research institutions have been engaging in research and development applicable to electric vehicle (EV) components such as batteries, fuel cells, chargers, electric motors, power electronics, smart grids, monitoring software, and information services. These technologies are now being used in on-road, off-road, recreational, marine, and, just recently, aviation applications.
EV incentives encourage buyers
At the end of Q3 2019, Canada had over 136,000 EVs on the road with 3.5 percent of passenger automobile sales being EVs. In British Columbia and Québec, provinces with financial incentives for buyers of EVs, this percentage was at 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Total sales for Q3 2019 were 25 percent higher than in 2018, and much of this growth was the result of national EV incentives introduced by Ottawa in its March 2019 budget. With over 20 million passenger vehicles now on the road in Canada, we need more sales.
By 2030, EVs are expected to represent 30 percent of sales of light duty vehicles, 55 percent of buses, and 13 percent of heavy-duty vehicles. The International Energy Agency reported over five million EVs globally in 2018, up two million from 2017. I believe we’re past the ‘tipping point,’ and auto manufacturers are offering an increasing variety of EVs.
The beginning of sustainable transportation
Increased production levels are expected to lead to price parity between EVs and internal combustion engine vehicles in about five years. There are now more than 250 Canadian businesses involved in EV technologies creating over 30,000 jobs and this is expected to grow to over 150,000 within 10 years.
With over 80 percent of Canada’s electricity produced from non-emitting sources, EVs can play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, which now represents 25 percent of all emissions. EVs are the foundation for autonomous vehicles and car-sharing strategies, which are creating a paradigm shift in how Canadians travel. This shift will lead to fewer collisions, fewer vehicles on the road, and more sustainable transportation.