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Canada’s appetite for EVs ‘significantly lags’ U.S., survey shows

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Market Trends | Technology
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J.D. Power has released another electric vehicle (EV) study, this time highlighting how two-thirds of Canadians are unlikely to consider choosing an EV as their next auto purchase.

And in its second J.D. Power Canada Electric Vehicle Consideration Study, J.D Power said interest among those living north of the border has dropped since it released its previous report last year.

According to its findings, 66% of automobile shoppers were either very unlikely or somewhat unlikely to consider an EV for their next purchase. The study also found that overall EV consideration in the nation has dropped 13 percentage points, plunging from 47% in 2022 to 34% this year.

Conversely, 61% of U.S. consumers on the market for a new vehicle said they were either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to buy an EV this year.

“Despite current legislation that is pushing hard for EV adoption, consumers in Canada are still not sold on the idea of automotive electrification,” said J.D. Ney, director of J.D. Power Canada’s automotive practice. “Growing concerns about affordability and infrastructure (both from charging and electrical grid perspectives), have caused a significant decline in the number of consumers who see themselves in the market for an EV anytime soon.

“Despite a lower consideration rate year-over-year and a widening consideration gap to automobile shoppers in the U.S., there is still a committed group—34%—of consumers in Canada who say they are likely to consider an EV in the next 24 months.”

According to J.D. Power, top concerns factoring into consumer reluctance include range anxiety, purchase price and lack of charging station availability.

“Lack of consumer exposure presents EV adoption challenges,” the report said. “Despite widespread awareness of EVs and growing efforts by manufacturers to make EV test drives available to consumers, 55% of vehicle shoppers have never been in an EV.”

It said that among consumers who have rented, borrowed or test driven an EV, 43% said they were at least somewhat likely to consider buying one.

J.D. Power’s study also found that opinion on EVs varied by geography, with those living in Western Canada most likely to buy an EV and those in central provinces including Ontario and Quebec slightly less likely to make the switch.

Drivers living in Atlantic Canada and the Prairies were least interested in switching to an EV, the report said.

“Against this backdrop, it is going to take significant investment and close collaboration between manufacturers and lawmakers to address issues of overall affordability, capability and infrastructure before Canada can reach its national and provincial EV sales targets,” Ney said.

The study was conducted by measuring responses from 4,488 consumers from April through May.

A number of reports indicate EV charging infrastructure is lagging in Canada. Its federal government has committed to investing more than $1.2 billion to build nearly 84,500 chargers by 2027, with thousands now in service.

Federal funding is in addition to provincial, territorial and private funding, the federal government said in a January press release.

A previously-released J.D. Power study focused on U.S. consumers found that 49% of people shopping for a new vehicle rejected electric vehicles (EVs) as an option due to infrastructure concerns.

A lack of charging availability has been the No. 1 reason shoppers have opted to stick with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles since J.D. Power’s Electrical Vehicle Consideration Study was launched in 2021.

“With all of these influences shaping today’s EV market, the biggest friction point for consideration is the availability of public chargers,” said Stewart Stropp, executive director of EV intelligence at J.D. Power.

“The growth in public charging isn’t keeping pace with the rising number of EVs on the road. While owners are impressed by what automakers are offering, they’re also thinking about how, when and where they’ll be able to charge their vehicles away from home. A resounding effort to build out and improve the public charging infrastructure will emphatically increase EV purchase consideration.”

According to J.D. Power’s research, charging availability has grown slowly year-over-year, rising 13% this year versus last year’s 33% increase.

S&P Global Mobility data has shown that the charging infrastructure is not nearly robust enough to fully support a maturing electric vehicle market. Even when home charging is taken into account, to properly match forecasted sales demand, the U.S. will need to see the number of EV chargers quadruple between 2022 and 2025, and grow more than eight-fold by 2030, S&P says.


Featured image credit: Daisy-Daisy/iStock

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