Climate change is an important issue that Canadians need to address now more than ever. We have all heard the long-term objectives and various methods discussed, and in the fight against climate change, there are a few concrete actions that everyday citizens can take to make a difference. Personal transportation is one area where our actions have direct consequences. Accelerating the shift to low- and zero-emission vehicles could be a crucial step in achieving our climate change goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

More and more electric vehicle (EV) models are now available, with improved range and increasingly affordable prices. In Canada, there are currently approximately 30,000 EVs on the road, which is a good start. At Electric Mobility Canada, we work with various stakeholders to accelerate EV adoption in all modes of transportation: individual vehicles, car sharing, fleets, and public transit. We are planning for a strong growth over the expected transition period of the next three to five years.

More awareness and communication are needed to reach Canadians and to show them the benefits of EVs, guiding them with credible information and facilitating test drives. New cars are bought on a daily basis, and EVs should be prominently promoted to gain a greater share of the market. Trying out an EV is often the first key step toward adoption. Once people know more about an EV’s technology, the pleasure of driving it, the savings ahead, and the environmental benefits, they’re much more likely to consider buying one. As for questions on range, people should take into account their driving patterns, know that most of the charging is done at home, and determine if workplace charging is a possibility. You can always count on public charging if needed as well, as there are now more than 4,000 public charging ports available in Canada.

At the provincial level, Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario are leading the way in offering programs for EV buyers. These programs help consumers adopt EVs by offsetting some of their costs, for example by offering rebates to buy an EV and install home charging stations. Although EVs still carry a price premium compared to conventional gas-powered vehicles, they offer the potential for real economies. Fuel savings, low-cost maintenance, and even insurance rebates make buying an EV a smart option for all Canadians. Government-funded rebate programs and incentives, together with the development of new public infrastructure, including a network of public fast-charging stations between and within cities, are making EVs more accessible and cutting down barriers for many shoppers.

At the federal level, public infrastructure has received an initial $62.5 million investment, which started in 2016 with the beginning of the implementation of fast-charging infrastructure on strategic complementary sites.

To achieve our nation’s objectives in GHG reductions, government and industry are working together to increase the availability and awareness of EVs. Through a partnership, the Ontario government is innovating by bringing  together diverse strengths of many stakeholders to work toward innovative solutions.

More concrete actions are needed to support all initiatives. Cities, consumers, and public fleets can all play an active role in the adoption of EVs by leading by example and helping to showcase the benefits of this new technology. EV-ready new and existing homes, multi-unit residential buildings, and workplaces, including some government agencies, are all on the agenda.

Electric vehicles come with so many benefits. They’re an innovative and efficient technology that provides smart energy management, cleaner air, and cost savings. It’s time to take action and get results, and to lead the way to a sustainable future.