3.24 million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold worldwide in 2020, which is practically an increase of 1 million compared to 2019, while 2.26 million vehicles in the genre had found a taker.
In a context where more and more countries are choosing to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars within a few years, it seems that the market is on the right track. That said, despite this new record, there is a small shadow on the table: in Canada, sales of electric vehicles fell in 2020 …
How to explain this? Is this a sign that the magic has already passed here? Does that mean that everyone who wanted an electric car has one, and the rest of the motorists prefer to keep their big gasoline SUVs?
Photo: Frédéric Mercier
A question of politics
To learn more about the situation, The Car Guide spoke with Daniel Breton, former Minister of the Environment of Quebec, now at the head of Electric Mobility Canada – a non-governmental organization whose mission is to promote and educate about the adoption of electric vehicles , both by individuals and by industries.
For Mr. Breton, the hypotheses that we put forward above are a little too speculative. According to him, the main problem with this decline is not the level of demand from Canadians for electric cars, but the level of supply.
In Canada, only one in three dealerships has electric cars in reserve. If we exclude Quebec and British Columbia, the only two Canadian provinces to offer an incentive for the purchase of an electric vehicle, only one in five dealerships has them in stock.
Photo: Marc-André Gauthier
But where are these electric cars?
While the manufacturing industry today seems to be doing well, it should not be forgotten that during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the production of the majority of auto factories was put on hold. This situation caused a production delay.
How to explain a sales record on a world scale, then? This is because the delay in production is relative to the production target, and as manufacturers feared an increase in global demand, they had already planned to do more.
The problem is that the cars produced did not come to us, for a reason of legislation. Certain governments in the world, as in Europe, oblige the manufacturers to compensate the pollution of the sale of their big engines by the sale of electric cars, otherwise one is exposed to fines. Canada and the United States do not have these kinds of constraints in place.
So here is this drop explained. Those who want electric cars, in many Canadian markets, simply cannot get hold of them since other countries with stricter laws are prioritized.
That said, with the arrival of Joe Biden as President of the United States, that may well change. And if the Americans go in this direction, it’s a safe bet that Canada will follow suit.
In video: The Car Guide’s 2021 best buys – electric car category