Canadians are lagging behind American consumers when it comes to EVs

In a surprise survey, Canadian consumers lag behind their American counterparts when it comes to buying an electric vehicle (EV) for their next vehicle.

While many had assumed that Canadian consumers were more predisposed to adopting EVs, the inaugural Electric Vehicle Consideration in Canada (EVC) study conducted recently by JD Power found that 53% of consumers in Canada say are either “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to consider an electric vehicle (EV) for their next vehicle purchase. This figure contrasts with that of the United States, where 59% of consumers say they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to consider an electric vehicle for their next purchase. Automakers and government officials.

This is especially important as automakers and government have “ambitious goals” for EV adoption, JD Ney, director, automotive practice leader at JD Power Canada, said in a results webinar. .

The Government of Canada has set a mandatory target for all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks to be zero emissions by 2035. It has already invested over $1 billion to support increased adoption of zero vehicles emission. The Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) is a $680 million initiative ending in 2027, designed to address charging infrastructure needs.

“There are several systemic challenges unique to Canada that manufacturers and policy makers need to collaborate on to effectively navigate the transition,” Ney said.

“The good news is that consideration of electric vehicles increases dramatically across a number of metrics once consumers become more knowledgeable about the capabilities of newer electric vehicles or, better yet, have first-hand experience of them.”

Key findings from the 2022 study could help shape the strategies of automakers, government and, by extension, aftermarket players entering the electric vehicle space.

Of particular note is the regional nature of the results.

The interest rate for EVs is the highest in Western Canada, with 59% of consumers in British Columbia indicating an interest in owning an EV. Residents of Quebec (50%) and Ontario (47%) have an average interest in owning an EV, while residents of the Prairies (38%) and Atlantic Canada (35%) show the least of interest.

The stark difference between US and Canadian results for cold-weather performance is also of interest to all, with 44% of Canadians citing range performance in extreme temperatures as a barrier to review, about three times that of US consumers surveyed previously.

Limited driving distance per charge is cited by 65% ​​of those who say it is “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to consider an electric vehicle, compared to 44% of US consumers with a similar level of consideration.

It’s not hard to see how distances and winter temperatures act like a punch in the back of EV adoption in the prairie provinces of Canada.

Beyond this, other key findings include

  • Cost is a metric to watch: Six in 10 consumers (61%) who say they are unlikely to consider the purchase price of an electric vehicle as a factor. That compares to just 44% of US consumers saying the same. While those in Canada have access to an incentive program at the federal level, many provinces lack meaningful incentives to help close the significant gap between the purchase price of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and that electric vehicles.
  • More information breeds more consideration: The more experience consumers have with electric vehicles, the more likely they are to consider an electric vehicle for their next vehicle purchase. The probability of considering electric vehicles is only 15% among those who have no experience with these vehicles. This number rises to 22% among those who have been passengers in an electric vehicle and to 42% among those who have driven one. Nearly half (49%) of those who own an EV will consider another EV for their next vehicle purchase.

The Canadian Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study will be used as an annual industry benchmark to gauge EV buyer consideration. The content of the study includes the global consideration of EVs by geography; demography; vehicle experience and use; way of life; and psychographic. It also includes details on model-level considerations, such as cross-purchase and “why buy” outcomes, as well as an analysis of reasons for rejection of electric vehicles. The study measured responses from 3,701 consumers and was conducted in April-May 2022.

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