Zero Emission Vehicles | promote progress

The federal government, which has pledged to halt sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035, is on track, but there’s still a long way to go, experts say.

Posted at 6:00 am

Delphine Belzile

Delphine Belzile
The press

According to Statistics Canada, zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) accounted for 7.7% of new motor vehicle registrations in the first quarter of the year. Canadians bought more than 26,000 new ZEVs in the first three months of the year, a 50.5% increase over the same period in 2021.

The share of new ZEVs on the road increased between 01.01ah quarter of 2020 and the 1ah quarter of 2021. She climbed between 1ah quarter of 2021 and the 1ah quarter of 2022, according to the federal agency.

If the trend continues, Daniel Breton, President and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada, promises growth in ZEV sales.

Keep in mind that the federal government has set a target for ZEV sales to reach 20% of new vehicle sales by 2026 and 60% by 2030. This means that 100% of light vehicle sales will be emission-free by 2035.

There is no shortage of demand: according to a recent survey for KPMG, around 71% of Canadians are considering electric cars for their next purchase. “Canadians are ready for the transition,” says Andréanne Brazeau, a mobility analyst at Équiterre, who believes the rise in gas prices is in favor of electric cars.

For his part, Robert Poëti, President and General Manager of the Corporation of Quebec Automobile Dealers (CCAQ), believes it is still early to know if the government’s 2035 target will be met. One thing is for sure: Automakers can’t provide as much as they’d like, he notes.

market pressure

Transport Canada forecasts over 300,000 ZEV sales in 2026, approximately 1,200,000 in 2030 and over 2,000,000 in 2035.

Production problems continue to lead to a decline in the supply of ZEVs, says Robert Poëti. A shortage of labor and parts has weakened the supply chain and delayed shipments since the pandemic.

Waiting times for the most popular models can be up to two years. That’s not encouraging at this point.

Robert Poëti, President and CEO of the Corporation of Quebec Automobile Dealers

In addition to the scarcity, the supply of ZEV in the country is unbalanced, says Daniel Breton. Automakers are prioritizing deliveries in regions where there are regulations to avoid delivery penalties, he explains.

For example, Quebec, which regulates the market for zero-emission vehicles, receives almost half of all electric vehicles sold in Canada, says Robert Poëti.


According to Daniel Breton, regulating the Canadian automotive market for ZEVs would require manufacturers to supply territories and provinces with a minimum of battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Last spring, Ottawa unveiled its greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, which includes a Canada-wide “zero emissions” standard to force manufacturers to improve their ZEV offerings. This standard must be adopted as soon as possible to ensure the electrification of transport throughout the country, emphasizes Andréanne Brazeau. Currently, only Quebec and British Columbia have regulations on the delivery of ZEVs.

Quebec at the top

Zero-emission vehicles accounted for 1% of sales in the Canadian automotive market in 2017. That share exceeded 5% last year, says Statistics Canada.


In Quebec alone, the number of ZEVs increased from 6,548 to 36,800 between 2017 and 2021. With more than 10,000 zero-emission vehicles registered between January and March 2022, the province ranks first in the country.

As part of its Roulez Vert program, Quebecers are eligible for a $7,000 rebate on electric car purchases, to which is added a $5,000 bonus from the federal government.

Infrastructural and technological hurdles keep consumers from switching to electric cars. Charging time seems to be the main issue, with more than half of Canadians refusing to wait more than 20 minutes to charge their battery. According to KPMG, around 79% will give up if the car cannot travel 400 kilometers without charging.

Learn more

  • 26.018
    Number of zero-emission cars registered in the first quarter of 2022

    Statistics Canada

    5.2%
    Share of new zero-emission cars on the road in 2021

    Statistics Canada

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