Canadians, surprisingly, lag behind Americans in EV consideration

There was a somewhat surprising result from an inaugural study just published by JD Power, showing that Canadians are less likely than our UScounterparts to think about purchasing an electric vehicle as our next auto. The study, called the J.D. Power Canada Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study, found that more than half of Canadians, at 53 per cent, would either be “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to consider an electric vehicle (EV).

Despite financial incentives and public relations efforts to adopt this cleaner way of driving, the Canadian government still has work to do when it comes to convincing most Canadians that EVs are the way forward. Similarly, OEMs are going to have to be more persuasive in their marketing tactics if the 2035 all electric targets are going to be met. The study measured responses from 3,701 consumers and was fielded in April-May 2022.

“There are several unique systemic challenges in Canada upon which manufacturers and policymakers need to collaborate to effectively navigate the transition,” said J.D. Ney, director, automotive practice lead at J.D. Power Canada. “The good news is that EV consideration increases dramatically across a number of metrics once consumers are either better informed on the capabilities of the newest EVs or, better yet, have personal experience with them.”

The key findings of the 2022 study are:

  • Cost is important: Six in 10 consumers (61 per cent) who say they are unlikely to consider an EV cite purchase price as a factor, compared to only 44 per cent of consumers in America who say the same. The incentive program is clearly going to have to be larger to bridge the gap between costs of EVs and ICE vehicles.
  • Range anxiety still a thing: Limited driving distance per charge is cited by 65 per cent of those who say they are “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to consider an EV, compared with 44 per cent American consumers. The report finds “Canada’s colder climate also likely plays into this reticence, with 44 per cent citing range performance in extreme temperatures as a barrier to consideration”.
  • More information leads to higher consideration: The more experience that consumers have with EVs, the more likely they are to consider an EV for their next vehicle purchase. “Likelihood of EV consideration is just 15 per cent among those who have had no experience with these vehicles. That number jumps to 22 per cent among those who have been passengers in an EV, and to 42 per cent among those who have driven one. Strangely, only half (49 per cent) of those who own an EV will consider another EV for their next vehicle purchase.
  • Geographic location is key: The rate of EV consideration is highest in Western Canada, with 59 per cent of consumers in British Columbia indicating interest in EV ownership. Residents  of Quebec (50 per cent) and Ontario (47 per cent) have middling interest in EV ownership, while the Prairie (38 per cent) and Atlantic Canada residents (35 per cent) show the least interest.

According to the JD Power press release, “The Canada Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study will be used as an annual industry benchmark for gauging EV shopper consideration.” 

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