Industry leaders from Canada’s automotive sector are warning Canadians that a national transition towards electrical vehicles is premature.
They warned in a press conference that Canada is not ready for the Trudeau government’s desired transition away from combustion engine vehicles because consumers are not accepting the transition and the government has not set the preconditions for EVs to succeed in the market.
The representatives included Tim Reuss of the Canadian Automotive Dealers Association, Brian Kingston of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, and David Adams of Global Automakers of Canada.
“With the current high interest rates and high inflation severely impacting consumer affordability, many consumers lack the means to purchase EVs as evidenced by the rising inventory levels on our dealers’ lots today,” said Reuss.
“Instead of attempting to dictate what individuals have to purchase, we suggest government focus on creating the right set of circumstances to stimulate demand.”
Reuss went on to warn that EV mileage sees a significant reduction when temperatures drop below freezing and that rural Canadians would be disproportionately impacted.
“The federal government needs to produce a realistic and flexible plan that takes into account the vastly different economic and geographic realities of Canada,” he said.
“Canadians living in rural and northern communities will face more difficulties with the transition to EVs due to prolonged periods of cold temperatures that affect the range of battery electric vehicles as well as the substantially longer average distances they need to travel.”
As previously reported by True North, the range of electric vehicles can plummet precipitously, by as much as 41% in cold weather.
Kingston of the CVMA warned that EVs are significantly more expensive compared to comparable combustion engine vehicles and that an EV mandate would disproportionately harm the poor, rural Canadians, and northerners.
“According to Environment Canada’s own analysis, the forthcoming regulation will have a disproportionate and negative impact on low-income Canadians, rural Canadians, and northern Canadians,” said Kingston.
“There’s an average price gap right now between internal combustion engine vehicles and ZEVs (zero-emission vehicles) of $14,000. The current purchasing incentives available to Canadians do not close this gap.”
Kingston also raised concerns around Canadians’ ability to charge their EVs, as the underdevelopment of charging infrastructure remains an issue.
“For those Canadians that are able to afford ZEVs, the next challenge they face is the lack of charging infrastructure. According to Enercan, 442,000 public chargers and 2.2 million multi-unit residential chargers are required by 2035. There are currently only 25,00 public chargers available to Canadians, and no plan to close the gap.”
Adams of the Global Automakers of Canada echoed the comments that his colleagues made, but stated that he believes Canadians need to be re-educated so as to compel them to purchase EVs.
“We need further education and awareness to ensure that customers are compelled to make the switch,” said Adams.
The Trudeau government has outlined their plan to phase out combustion engine vehicles by mandating that at least 20% of new vehicle purchases be an electric vehicle by 2026, 60% by 2030, and that all new vehicle purchases be electric vehicles by 2035.
The Trudeau government is expected to release their finalized plan next week.