Why are British Columbia and Quebec getting new electric vehicles before other provinces?

In addition to the incentives, British Columbia and Quebec are the only provinces with ZEV mandates that require automakers to sell a minimum percentage of electric vehicles – if they don’t, they must pay fines.George Clerk www.georgeclerk.com/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

I am looking to trade in my 13 year old Toyota Prius for a battery electric vehicle. I understand that Toyota’s next all-electric bZ4X is expected to be available in Canada in mid-2022. However, according to my dealership, the car will initially only be available in British Columbia and Quebec. He says it might not arrive in Ontario until the end of 2023. Is that typical for new electric vehicles? I know the policies of Ontario Premier Doug Ford do not include discounts on electric vehicles, but that seems like a huge problem. I realize that I don’t need to buy a Toyota, but I do have a brand preference and have had an exceptional relationship with my dealership for over 25 years. – Maarten, Toronto

When automakers launch new electric vehicles in Canada, Quebec and British Columbia typically get discounts.

“Electric vehicles are typically launched first in British Columbia and Quebec,” says Joanna Kyriazis, senior policy advisor at Clean Energy Canada, an environmental non-profit organization. “And they get more electric vehicles than the other provinces.

For example, as Volkswagen started selling the ID.4, its new electric SUV, here last month there is already a waiting list of 9 to 12 months.

The first models available will go to Quebec and British Columbia, followed by Ontario later this year.

The company plans a nationwide rollout next year, once a new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee begins production. “The situation is a bit confusing for potential consumers of electric vehicles outside of the three provinces in question,” said Thomas Tetzlaff, spokesperson for Volkswagen Canada.

Toyota Canada has not announced exactly when – or where – it will launch its next bZ4X SUV in Canada. “Our intention is to sell this vehicle where there is demand, as is the case for all our other vehicles,” explains Romaric Lartilleux, spokesperson for Toyota Canada.

But, in 2020, it launched the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV), first in Quebec and then in British Columbia.

As electric vehicle production is slowed by the current global semiconductor shortage affecting the entire industry, expectations for electric vehicles are not new. “The supply of electric vehicles was generally spotty before COVID-19 and wait times were the norm,” said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA). “New car dealers were also reluctant to order them, so sometimes the problem was a lack of available stock. “

Electric vehicle sales increase in British Columbia and Quebec

So why do British Columbia and Quebec generally get electric vehicles first?

“Quebec and British Columbia are where the demand is, but there is obviously a government component,” says Andrew King, Managing Partner of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. “Electric vehicles are still very dependent on incentives and very dependent on government regulations. “

The two provinces have the highest sales of electric vehicles in Canada. While electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles account for around 5% of new vehicle registrations nationwide. these numbers are higher in British Columbia and Quebec, according to IHS Markit research firm. In the third quarter of 2021, electric vehicles represented 13% of new registrations in Quebec and 9.9% in British Columbia.

While there is a federal incentive up to $ 5,000 on Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), six provinces – Before Christ, yukonese, Quebec, New Scotland, PEI and Newfoundland – offer their own additional incentives.

Thus, between the two discounts, you will save up to $ 12,000 on the price of a new ZEV in Quebec, up to $ 10,000 in the Yukon, PEI. and Newfoundland, and up to $ 8,000 in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

“You absolutely have to have incentives,” King says. “We saw it in Ontario when they canceled the incentives and sales immediately plummeted. “

Although Ford of Ontario said this month that it would not give discounts to “millionaires” buying $ 100,000 worth of cars, all current incentive programs have limits. For example, the federal incentive applies only to electric vehicles with a base price of less than $ 55,000.

Are the incentives not enough?

But incentives alone don’t explain why automakers are sending more EVs to British Columbia and Quebec and launching new EVs there first, Kyriazis says.

British Columbia and Quebec are the only provinces with ZEV mandates that require automakers to sell a minimum percentage of electric vehicles – if they don’t, they must pay fines.

“I would say the sales requirements play a bigger role than the incentives,” Kyriazis says. “Before Christ and Quebec get more EVs because they have ZEV mandates in place.

So, if incentives are a carrot for consumers, ZEV mandates are a stick for manufacturers. To avoid penalties, they first ship the cars to British Columbia and Quebec.

The two provinces are currently working to toughen their ZEV requirements. Before Christ aim for 90% of all new zero-emission car sales by 2030 and 100% by 2035, five years earlier than the previous target. While the federal government said this summer that it wants 100% of new vehicles sold in Canada to be zero emissions by 2035, it has not established a national ZEV mandate that would require companies to do so.

Kyriazis says Canada needs a federal ZEV mandate to “level the playing field.”

“[It] would ensure that every Canadian who wants an EV can find one to buy, no matter where in the country they live, ”says Kyriazis.

A question about driving? Send it to [email protected] and put “Driving Concerns” in your subject line. Emails without the correct subject line may not be answered. Canada is a big country, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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