Seven in 10 Canadians (68 per cent) who plan to buy a new vehicle within the next five years are likely to buy an electric vehicle (EV), either pure or hybrid, although the lack of a robust charging infrastructure, battery life and range and the purchase price remain persistent concerns, finds a new survey by KPMG in Canada.
"Canada's automotive industry is nearing the tipping point, with nearly 70 per cent of Canadians indicating that they're looking to buy an electric vehicle not in a decade's time but in the next five years," says Peter Hatges, Partner, National Sector Leader, Automotive, KPMG in Canada. "Our poll research illustrates huge consumer demand in Canada for EVs, putting the onus on manufacturers and governments alike to shift gears not only to meet the expected surge in EV sales but to invest heavily in the necessary infrastructure."
Key Survey Findings:
• As many as 70 per cent of Canadians plan to buy a new vehicle within the next decade, of which over three in five (62 per cent) intend to make their purchase in the next one-to-five years.
• Of the 62 per cent of Canadians planning to buy a new vehicle in the next one-to-five years:
- 68 per cent are very likely or likely to purchase an EV, pure or hybrid
- 77 per cent in British Columbia and 75 per cent in Quebec say they are in the market for an EV. By comparison, fewer people in Alberta (54 per cent), the Prairies (48 per cent) or Atlantic Canada (55 per cent) in the market for a new vehicle are likely to buy an EV.
- Men are more inclined to buy an EV than woman (73 per cent vs. 62 per cent, respectively).
- Nearly four in five (79 per cent) of those aged 18 to 44 – comprised predominantly of Millennials and Generation Z – say they are very likely or likely to buy an EV within the next five years, compared to 58 per cent of those aged 45 years and older.
- 42 per cent in the market for an EV within the next five years are prepared to spend between $30,000 and $49,999 and 20 per cent are willing to spend up to $74,999. About a third (31 per cent) in the market for an EV within the next five years want to spend less than $30,000.
• 83 per cent of Canadians believe the auto makers should be required to invest in a national charging infrastructure.
• 89 per cent want EV charging stations installed at "every gas station" as well as shopping malls and grocery stores.
• 61 per cent say the pandemic made them realize that they need a vehicle. They said they would rather drive than take public transport.
The Environment: A Big Motivator
For those already inclined to buy an EV, they were motivated by environmental concerns, lower operating costs, tax incentives, and the prospect of reduced insurance premiums. For them, tax incentives were much less of an incentive than the environment or lower operating costs. However, when the question of tax incentives was put to all respondents, 70 per cent said they needed tax and/or automotive company incentives to make them change their mind and buy an EV.
Those in the market for an EV said they plan to buy: Toyota (23 per cent), Tesla (19 per cent); and Honda (9 per cent). More men than women said they intended to buy a Tesla, 22 per cent vs. 15 per cent, respectively. Women opted for EV models from Toyota (21 per cent).
Further, 59 per cent of Canadians planning to buy an EV said they will buy their own charger. This jumps to 66 per cent in Quebec and is only 50 per cent in B.C. Just over a quarter (26 per cent) have not figured out where to charge it overnight but are hoping their condo building will install chargers "soon" and another 12 per cent plan to charge it at the mall, shopping centre, or office.
The EV Divide – Lingering Doubts
The main reasons cited by those planning to buy a vehicle but not an EV are the high cost (60 per cent); limited driving range (51 per cent); lack of charging infrastructure (50 per cent); dubious battery lifespan (30 per cent), limited model options (24 per cent); and recharging time (24 per cent).
• 70 per cent of all Canadians are looking for tax and/or automotive company incentives to buy an EV.
• 77 per cent of all Canadians want their EV to run for a minimum of 400 km on a full battery.
• Over two-thirds (67 per cent) are concerned about reliably in cold weather.
• Over half (53 per cent) worry EVs could "blow up the electrical grid" and could be too expensive to operate given electricity prices.