Blog: Trends in Electric Vehicle Ownership in Atlantic Canada

There are not many Atlantic Canadians driving hybrid or electric vehicles. And even though McKinsey says sales of electric vehicles are expected to reach 100 million by 2035, Atlantic Canadians are not rushing to purchase either type of vehicle in the next three years.

Current Ownership Rates

In Atlantic Canada, only four percent of the population currently owns a hybrid vehicle. Electric vehicle ownership rates are even lower – less than one percent.

While current ownership rates are low, studies show that globally ownership of electric vehicles is expected to increase.

Plans to Purchase

The economics of electric vehicle ownership are expected to improve in the next 5 to 10 years. According to McKinsey, “EV costs will go down rapidly, mainly driven by a decrease in costs for battery packs (from USD220 to USD73 per kilowatt hour (kWh) between 2017-30).”

However, in the next three years we do not see surging demand for either electric or hybrid vehicles. We see that fewer than one in four Atlantic Canadians are planning to purchase either type of vehicle, with purchase intention being higher for hybrid vehicles.

This level of purchase intention places Atlantic Canadians in the middle of the global pack for hybrid vehicles while we are global leaders for electric vehicle purchasing intent.

According to the 2019 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study, the percentage of people planning to purchase a hybrid vehicle as their next vehicle ranges from a low of 22 percent in the United States to a high of 46 percent in Japan. For electric vehicles, that range is from four percent in the United States to 12 percent in China.

Here is a more detailed look at the data from that report:

Barriers To Adoption

Many governments are attempting to increase the number of people driving electric vehicles (or hybrid vehicles) because they are shown to improve air quality and lower carbon emissions. A new study out of North Western University shows that not only are these improvements possible, but that they are possible even if the electricity is generated from combustion sources.

According to the study: “[W]hen their electricity is generated from combustion sources, electric vehicles have a net positive impact on air quality and climate change.”

Given these benefits, it is important to understand the barriers to electric vehicle adoption.

A study by KPMG attempted to identify these barriers. The study, titled Main Reasons Why Respondents Worldwide Will Not Consider Buying An All-electric Vehicle as of 2018, found five main barriers to adoption:

  1. Price
  2. Charging
  3. Range
  4. Uncertainty about future tech developments
  5. Suitability for daily use

It is unclear how reflective a global study is of Atlantic Canadian concerns; however it is understandable that some would exist here. For now, these provide an initial point for discussions, debate, and further research in Atlantic Canada.