A new study from consulting group KPMG has shed some new light on how Canadian drivers feel about electric cars and electrification, as well as the plans of those people to make the plug-in transition. It found that more than two-thirds of Canadians planning a new vehicle purchase in the next one to five years say they are likely or very likely to buy a vehicle with some form of electrification, but that figure varies wildly depending on the province.
“Canada’s automotive industry is nearing the tipping point, with nearly 70 per cent of Canadians indicating that they’re looking to buy an electric vehicle not in a decade’s time but in the next five years,” says Peter Hatges, partner, national sector leader, automotive, KPMG in Canada. “Our poll research illustrates huge consumer demand in Canada for EVs, putting the onus on manufacturers and governments alike to shift gears not only to meet the expected surge in EV sales but to invest heavily in the necessary infrastructure.”
The figure is 70 percent of all Canadians planning to buy in the next one to five years, and of those 68 per cent are “very likely or likely” to go home with an EV or hybrid model. That means just under half of all Canadian drivers are thinking electric. With current EV uptake (including PHEV models) hovering just under four percent currently that could be a massive increase.
The likelihood of wanting to purchase electrified changes greatly depending on the province, largely following provincial incentives. Of that 68 per cent, 77 per cent of British Columbians and 75 per cent of Quebecers, the provinces offering the higest incentives, said they are in the market for an EV. Contrast that with Atlantic Canada at 55 per cent and the Prairies at 48 per cent, and it shows the importance of pricing in the current market. Of note, this study was completed prior to Nova Scotia’s preliminary announcement of an incentive of its own.
According to the study, 73 per cent of men were inclined to buy an EV compared with 62 per cent of women, though further analysis into the gender divide wasn’t given. When it comes to age, 79 per cent of those aged 18-44 said they are very likely or likely to buy an EV, compared with 58 per cent of those 45 and up, again of the portion of Canadians likely or very likely to buy an EV.
A third of the buyers said they wanted to spend less than $30,000 on their EV with 42 percent spending $30,000-$49,999 and 20 per cent willing to spend up to $74,999.
Charging infrastructure is still an issue for many buyers, with 89 per cent wanting EV charging stations “at every gas station” as well as at other locations. This is a stark contrast to the view of many automakers and studies that have found around 80 per cent of charging is done at home or while parked during the workday. Eighty-three per cent of Canadians feel the automakers should be required to invest in charging infrastructure.
The pandemic could speed EV adoption as well, with 61 per cent of Canadians saying the pandemic made them realize they need a vehicle and reducing confidence in public transit.
What did Canadians say was stopping them? Seventy per cent wanted incentives for an EV, either from automakers or via taxes, and 77 per cent want their EV to run at least 400 km on a full charge. Just over half said they were worried about the effect on the electrical grid or that the cars would be expensive to operate because of electricity prices. Only 24 per cent were worried about charging times, showing that improving fast charging is making a difference to consumers.