More and more electric vehicles on Canadian roads

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More and more electric vehicles on Canadian roads

Electric cars are seeing a surge in popularity as new car sales decline.

According to the latest figures from Statistics Canada, more than 26,000 zero-emission cars have registered across the country in the first quarter of 2022, a 50.5% increase over the same period last year.

Battery electric cars saw the strongest growth in the number of new registrations with 55.2%, while sales of new cars in all categories are down. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle registrations increased by 37.7%.

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The largest number of new zero-emission car registrations in the country were made in Quebec. Quebec buyers of a new electric vehicle have access to rebates of up to $7,000, an amount in addition to the $5,000 offered by the federal government. Ontario ended its subsidy program for the purchase of a zero-emission car in 2018.

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Patrick Lapalme, a resident of Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, plans to add a registration to this list when he receives his car ordered at the end of April. He bought his first electric vehicle in 2020 and says he never wants to go back to a gas-powered car. It's flawless. It's the best vehicle I've had so far, he says.

Car dealerships are also seeing this enthusiasm for electric vehicles. Rick Blacker, vice-president of Marsim Auto Group, which operates three dealerships under the Hyundai, Genesis and Kia banners in the Toronto area, says electric cars accounted for 2% of its sales two years ago. It's over 20% today. Most people had no interest and were even afraid of electric vehicles, and now the tide has turned, he explains.

He says he is getting new orders for electric vehicles every week, despite waiting times of up to two years in some cases due to the shortage of microchips.

Despite the growing popularity of zero-emission vehicles, they represent only 7.7% of new registrations in the first quarter of 2022, again according to Statistics Canada figures. The march remains high to reach the targets set by the federal government.

The Liberals made a commitment last year that no new gas-powered car will be sold in the countries from 2035.

Some automakers, including General Motors, Honda and Volvo, have also promised to convert their entire vehicle offering to electric models within the next two decades.

According to Cara Clairman, president of the Plug 'N Drive organization which promotes electric vehicles, the price of these cars remains a barrier for many consumers. She maintains that the distance that can be traveled between two recharges is becoming less and less of a concern.

Access to charging stations is the main obstacle to charging. purchase of an electric vehicle, according to her. If you live in an apartment building, it's much harder to get access to a charging station in your parking space, says Clairman.

“I hear it almost every day: "There are not enough charging stations."

—Max Maurice, Associate Sales Manager at Shift Electric Vehicles

The charging station situation reminds Associate Sales Manager at Shift Electric Vehicles, Max Maurice, of the chicken and egg paradox. Government and automakers say there aren't enough electric cars to put more charging stations, while consumers don't want to buy electric cars because there aren't enough charging stations, argues -he.

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