Two Surveys Find Canadians Open to EVs, Unaware of Benefits

Driving EV Uptake in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Electric Mobility Canada’s 2017 EV Conference and Trade Show is on this week in Markham, Ontario. The conference brings together government, industry, and academics to bring forward the latest news and trends in electric mobility tech. One of the big reveals of the conference were two studies of Canadian drivers. One that showed that shows buyers are beginning to lean toward EVs, and one that showed that buyers are largely not aware of government incentives or potential savings of EVs.

The first, The Potential Evolution of EVs to the Consumer Mainstream in Canada: A Geodemographic Segmentation Approach, was presented by Mark Ferguson, from the Institute for Transportation and Logistics at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. The survey polled more than 20,000 Canadian households, asking questions about consumer perception of electric vehicles. The questions ranged from if consumers felt plugging in at home was practical to how much more consumers would pay to save on maintenance.

It is one of the largest studies of this type in the world, and suggests that there is “widespread openness among Canadian households to the value proposition offered by PHEV (plug-in hybrid) and BEV (battery electric vehicle) powertrains.” It also found that buyers in the Greater Toronto Area thought that plugging in at home was not practical at a higher rate than people in less dense cities like Edmonton, AB. Despite that, buyers in the dense cities had a higher probability of an electric-car favourable mindset.

The second study, Driving EV Uptake in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, was funded by The Atmospheric Fund, a group that invests in lowering air pollution in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. That study of 1,000 gas vehicle owners found that despite incentives of up to $14,000 on new electric vehicles, that buyers had a “significant lack of awareness of EV purchase incentives.” They also weren’t aware that buyers of EVs could see substantial savings in operating costs. Finally, nearly half of owners surveyed did not believe that switching to EVs would help mitigate climate change.

The second study made recommendations to help raise awareness and tackle misconceptions about electric vehicles, including coordinating campaigns to raise awareness and emphasize total cost of ownership as well as greenhouse gas emission benefits.

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Evan Williams

Evan Williams

Evan is based in Halifax, and has been a car nut for as long as anyone can remember. He autocrosses, does lapping days and TSD rallies, breaks cars and then fixes them again.