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Posted on June 21, 2016

Electric vehicle market in Canada

Autonomous Vehicles Land, Water, Air 2017-2037


The electric vehicle (EV) market in Canada is small, but growing. At the end of year 2015, there were close to 18,500 EVs registered in Canada representing less than 0.1% of all light-duty vehicles on the road. In total, there are now 21 different plug-in models of EVs available, made by 12 different manufacturers and this number is constantly increasing.

Some facts and figures

  • 64% growth rate of the Canadian EV market in 2014.
  • 150 + Canadian industries involved in EVs.
  • 35+ research centres and universities involved in EV R&D.
  • More than 3,000 public charging stations, 150 of which are Level 3 fast chargers.
  •  Over 65% of Canadian electricity comes from renewable sources.
  •  Plug-in Electronic Vehicle (PEV) sales in Canada have largely been concentrated in Quebec,Ontario, and British Columbia, where there tends to be stronger PEV policy.

Electric vehicles available in Canada

Battery Electric VehiclesBMW i3, Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S, Kia Soul, Chevrolet Spark EV, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model 3
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, McLaren P1, Porsche 918, Porsche Cayenne S E Hybrid, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, BMW Concept X5 e Drive, Toyota Prius Plug-In, BMW i8, Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-In, 2016 Audi A3 Sportsback e-tron, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Plug-In, Cadillac ELR
Extended Range Hybrid VehiclesBMW i3, Chevrolet Volt

Opportunity and challenges

The average daily commute for Canadians is less than 25 km with 90% of Canadians having a commute of less than 45 km. While this is well within the typical range of EVs, drivers resist buying EVs because they fear running out of energy on the occasional longer trip beyond the home base.
There is significant opportunity to bring clusters of innovation and commercial capacity across Canada in the new auto parts supply chain for components related to zero emissions and low emissions vehicles. These parts and components include:
  •  Electric motors (AC)
  •  Power electronics
  •  Batteries
  •  Ultracapacitors (supercapacitors)
  •  Light weighing and advanced materials sciences
  •  Powertrain integration, prototype simulation and testing
  • EV readiness requiring grid management, with micro-grids, smart grids, and advanced metering devices
  •  Software and controls

Research and development target areas

Clusters of existing advanced automotive expertise & capacity within Canada's industrial and academic sectors include:
  •  Electric & fuel cell propulsion: "e-mobility" - motors, power electronics, controls.
  •  Onboard energy storage technologies - Battery chemistries, components and performance; fuel cell membranes/chemistries and performance; electric vehicle charging infrastructure (on route and stationary).
  •  Material sciences & light-weighting - New materials for chassis & component parts.
  •  Signalling, controls, autonomous vehicle and connected car systems.

Building codes - a key barrier

key barrier to the deployment of EVs in Canada is the lack of charging facilities. Home charging is essential and popular for those living in detached homes, but more complex for Canadians living in condominiums (also known as stratas in BC). Similarly, workplace charging - the second most popular mode of charging - is harder to implement with more technical hurdles depending on the location, age of buildings, technical issues related to the capacity of the building's electrical supply and where the EVs are parked. In condominiums, there is the added complexity of assigning the electricity charges to the EV owner and not the condominium corporation itself. These technical issues have solutions and each site can be resolved. However, it is recognised that amendments to building codes can greatly reduce these technical issues in the future by providing for EV charging in the design of new buildings and in the major retrofit of existing buildings.

Canada PEV policy

cross Canada, PEV policy is fragmented with only a few provinces offering comprehensive PEV policy portfolios. British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec lead the country by offering mainly demand-focused policies, primarily a mix of financial incentives (including purchase subsidies ranging from $5000- $8,500) and non-financial incentives. At the national level, policy is supply-focused with federal investments in research and development. Several programs fund and support automotive research initiatives directed at innovation, energy efficiency, and emissions reductions such as the Automotive Innovation Fund (Industry Canada), Automotive Partnership Canada (Industry Canada and NSERC), and EcoENERGY Innovation Imitative (NRCan).

Recent trends

  •  Ontario is investing $20 million from Ontario's Green Investment Fund to build nearly 500 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at over 250 locations in Ontario in 2017.
  •  Through the $20 million Electric Vehicle Chargers Ontario (EVCO) grant program, the province is working with 27 public and private sector partners to create a network of fast-charging electric vehicle stations in cities, along highways and at workplaces, condominiums and public places across Ontario.

Industry information/references

  •  Canadian Electricity Association (
  •  Electric Mobility Canada (
  •  Electric Vehicle Society of Canada (
  •  Plug'n Drive (
  •  Statistics Canada (
  •  National Resources Canada (
Source: Shweta Nagpal, Trade Associate, UK Trade & Investment Canada
Top image: Wikipedia
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Energy Independent Electric Vehicles 2017 External Link on 27 - 28 Sep 2017 in TU Delft, Delft, Netherlands hosted by IDTechEx.