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Future of Transportation

The Tipping Point: How Electric Vehicles Became the Norm While We Weren’t Looking

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Photos courtesy of Kia Canada.
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Sponsored by:
Photos courtesy of Kia Canada.

The argument for EVs has always been multifaceted: climate change, gas prices, the appeal of new technology. But the newest argument is quite simple — they’re some of the most practical vehicles on the market.

Just a decade ago, the people shopping for electric vehicles (EVs) were a select few — the keenest tech enthusiasts, the fuel-price fatalists, and the profoundly eco-conscious. Since then, the world has become much more tech-forward, gas prices are back above 2012 highs, and we have all, out of necessity, become very aware of our personal climate impacts. But there’s more to it than that.

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Today, more than one in ten new Canadian vehicle registrations are electric vehicles of some stripe. What was only recently a niche market is now a robust segment with fully-developed offerings that fit the needs and budgets of even Canada’s most pragmatic car buyers. EV buyers are truly embracing the future of transportation today, as the industry transitions to more sustainable and environmentally-minded people movement.

A natural shift in thinking

“We’re at the tipping point right now,” says Elias El-Achhab, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Canada. “People that are looking for more technologically advanced models with slicker styling, more functionality, and the latest and greatest in advanced driver systems and autonomous features are shifting to EVs naturally.”

That “shift” is the S in Kia’s global Plan S strategy which, in the Canadian market, includes a commitment to introducing seven all-new electrified models by 2025. Through initiatives in green manufacturing and partnerships like the Ocean Cleanup project, they’re also working to elevate our understanding of what sustainability means.

Global players like Kia are all-in on the EV future. And even more Canadian drivers are pushing their chips into the middle as well, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s also the sensible thing to do.

Q&A with Kia Canada COO Elias El-Achhab on the Canadian EV Market

Elias El-Achhab

Elias El-Achhab

COO, Kia Canada

What concerns do Canadian shoppers have about EVs?

When surveying Canadians, the biggest concerns are still around range, charging infrastructure, and lifestyle. It’s true that much of Canada is made up of dense urban centres with vast spaces in between them. If you live in the prairies and have a lot of driving distance, an EV is probably not the right model for you today, but we’re working with governments and other entities to grow the infrastructure and change that. We’re also working to expand and support the adoption of electrified vehicles through a large network of EV-certified dealers and our first-ever EV Education Centre located in Vancouver.

Who would benefit most from making the switch to an EV? 

If most or all of your driving is in and around a city, then all-electric vehicles are the obvious choice, or a plug-in hybrid if you have to occasionally travel somewhere further like Northern Ontario. On a PHEV, you can have up to 51 kms of all-electric range alone for driving around the city and then utilize the internal combustion engine (ICE) as backup for longer journeys.

What style of EVs make sense in the Canadian market?

Canadians prefer SUVs and crossovers in ICE models, so it’s natural to assume that’s what they’re going to want in electrified models as well. As a part of our Plan S strategy, we’ve launched several vehicles within this segment within the last year including the Sorento PHEV, EV6 and upcoming Sportage PHEV later this summer.

Why should Canadians be looking to Kia for their EV needs? 

Number one is our proven experience. We’re already in our third generation of electric vehicle models and design, with a growing lineup that is fitted directly toward the Canadian consumer. We have models with all-wheel drive, with all the convenience and safety features that we are known for, packaged in striking design. And our proven, real-world range is a crucial buying point. We understand the Canadian market and we’re committed to providing EVs that make sense for Canadians.

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