Across the country, as Canadians make the switch to electric vehicles, they not only help keep our air clean, they save money on their monthly bills by driving cars that aren’t only comfortable and reliable, but cheaper to run and maintain. To make sure people who want to make the switch have access, the Government of Canada is taking action to improve the availability of new electric vehicles across the country.
That’s why today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced Canada has finalized its new Electric Vehicle Availability Standard to increase the supply of clean, zero-emission vehicles available to Canadians across the country. The Standard complements additional actions underway by the federal government to develop a robust electric vehicle supply chain and infrastructure that creates good, middle-class jobs and ensures a cleaner, safer environment.
The Standard will ensure that Canada can achieve a national target of 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035. Interim targets of at least 20 percent of all sales by 2026, and at least 60 percent by 2030, will channel supply to Canadian markets instead of going abroad, reducing customer wait times and making sure Canadians have access to the latest affordable and technologically advanced vehicles that are coming to the market in the next few years. The Electric Vehicle Availability Standard helps Canada keep pace with the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and several other major economies which are all taking action to lower emissions and put more electric vehicles on the roads.
The Canadian marketplace for passenger vehicles is already experiencing a rapid shift toward zero-emission vehicles. As pricing on select models has decreased and gas prices remain volatile, demand for electric vehicles has increased year over year. In the last quarter alone, one out of every eight new cars sold across Canada was a zero-emission vehicle. And, in British Columbia and Quebec, which already have similar standards in place, new electric vehicles now account for one in five sales in those provinces.
Switching to electric vehicles is the more affordable option over the long run. Recharging costs can be as little as $10 per 400 kilometres and, over a ten-year span, the average cumulative ownership cost of an electric vehicle hatchback is $48,943, whereas the gas-powered alternative is $82,515. According to experts, when purchase incentives from the federal government (up to $5,000) and provincial and territorial governments (up to $7,000 in Quebec, for example) are combined with the reduced costs of battery charging and maintenance, many models hit a cost parity with gas vehicles within four years, and some in under a year.
Advancements in battery technology have improved cold-weather performance and increased the range of many currently available models to over 400 kilometres, representing a substantial improvement from earlier models. Fully electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles all offer consumers different options when looking to purchase a new vehicle. While about 80 percent of current electric vehicle owners choose to charge their vehicles at home, the Government of Canada is investing $1.2 billion to build 84,500 chargers across the country by 2029, which adds on to efforts by businesses and other governments to further expand the charging infrastructure across the country.
The switch to electric vehicles is also significantly reducing harmful air pollution. Health Canada analysis indicates that overall, emissions from all on-road vehicles contribute to an estimated 1,200 premature deaths and millions of cases of non-fatal health outcomes every year, at a total estimated economic cost of $9.5 billion annually. The air quality benefits of switching to electric vehicles will be particularly important for the 40 percent of Canadians who live near busy roads and highways and are exposed to high levels of pollution.
The Standard was informed by extensive engagement over the last two years and follows a phased-in approach that allows for a gradual and orderly switch to a 100 per cent zero-emission future. More than $34 billion in new investments have been made by automotive and battery manufacturers since 2020, and are part of the shift to electric vehicle production and establishing a battery supply chain in Canada—which will create and maintain hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs for Canadians in a modern automotive supply chain.
When combined with investments in charging infrastructure, and battery and automotive manufacturing, along with consumer purchase incentives on new electric vehicles, the new Electric Vehicle Availability Standard is one more part of a comprehensive plan to ensure that Canadians fully benefit from an electric-vehicle future.
“Many Canadians are increasingly eager to make the switch to cleaner transportation, since it’s a win-win-win in savings, their heath, and the environment. Putting in place an Electric Vehicle Availability Standard fulfills a major climate commitment from our climate plan. Getting more electric vehicles on the road is another example of how we are taking climate action while helping make life more affordable. And our investments to position Canada as a significant player in the global electric vehicle manufacturing and battery supply chain shows how we are taking advantage of the economic opportunities provided by the emerging low-carbon economy.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Through the Greening Government strategy, we are leading by example and greening our own operations, including by electrifying our vehicles. We have already seen a 40 percent reduction in emissions from on-road vehicles, and we are making progress in transitioning to 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2030. This new Electric Vehicle Availability Standard will help Canada meet its targets and is good news for all Canadians. We will keep taking the necessary steps to get us to net zero by 2050.”
– The Honourable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board
“Canadians are making the switch to zero-emission vehicles. Introducing the Electric Vehicle Availability Standard will ensure that Canadians have more to choose from—and more affordable options—when choosing a zero-emission vehicle. These measures will help create jobs across Canada and bring us closer to our ambitious sales targets for zero-emission vehicles.”
– The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport
“These regulations are a concrete step in taking climate action for Canada. As more and more zero-emission vehicles hit Canadian roads, we can expect less pollution from traffic in our communities. This will have immediate health benefits that will keep growing over time. By reducing air pollution from on-road vehicles, we can reduce health risks for Canadians of all ages.”
– The Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health
“Zero-emission vehicles are an essential component of Canada’s low-carbon future. By making the switch, drivers are saving on their bills, ensuring clean air in communities, and supporting job-creating projects across Canada’s growing electric vehicle supply chain. Today’s announcement will further support the deployment of zero-emission vehicles and associated charging infrastructure in every part of the country.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
“Canadians are leaders in building a sustainable transportation future, and the Government of Canada is supporting them. Across the country this year, we deployed tens of thousands of electric vehicle chargers and secured historic job-creating projects across the critical minerals and battery value chain. Today’s announcement will build off that support and help ensure Canadians get access to these electric vehicles.”
– Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
- From 2024 to 2050, the switch to electric vehicles is estimated to save owners $36.7 billion in energy costs, since electricity costs are significantly lower than refuelling at the pumps. For example, it only costs about $10 in electricity for a mid-sized electric vehicle to travel 400 kilometres, compared to about $50 in gasoline.
- Phasing in 100 percent new electric vehicle sales by 2035 is projected to reduce over 360 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, avoiding almost $100 billion in global damages.
- According to S&P Global, the share of new registrations of light-duty zero-emission vehicles in Canada in third quarter 2023 reached 13.3 percent (or one in eight new vehicles). This is up by 40 percent from third quarter 2022.
- To date, the Government of Canada’s incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) program has helped over 300,000 drivers make the switch through incentives of up to $5,000.
- Today there are about 25,000 public chargers in Canada, of which the Government of Canada funded over 10,000. Since 2016, the Government of Canada has selected over 42,000 electric vehicle chargers for funding and is expected to deploy 84,500 by 2029.
- Over 50 models qualify for the federal iZEV purchase incentive in 2023, which is an 80 percent increase from 2019.
- The automotive sector contributed $14 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product in 2022 and is one of the country’s largest export industries.
- The automotive sector supports the employment of more than 500,000 Canadians. Investments supporting manufacturing of electric vehicles, and electric vehicle technology, will ensure Canada remains a key player in the modern automotive industry.