In June 2016, the Ontario government published its Climate Change Action Plan, which calls for a province-wide reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 37 percent by 2030. As transportation is the largest source of GHG emissions in the province, one solution to help tackle this environmental challenge is the electrification of transportation.

The Ontario government is making large investments in electric vehicles (EVs), including the introduction of purchase incentives for EVs and charging stations, the green licence plate program (which gives green vehicles like EVs priority access to prime driving lanes), and the installation of public charging infrastructure.

However, these investments will not necessarily increase the demand for EVs on their own, as car purchasing is an individual decision that depends on a number of factors. Research has shown that there’s a general lack of awareness and understanding on the part of the public about the benefits of EV ownership, the capabilities of EV technology, and the government incentives that are available.

Persistent myths about EVs, including their high price, low driving distances and onerous maintenance, continue to prevent many people from making the switch. There is a need for greater public education and awareness among Ontarians to increase EV uptake and help leverage government investments.

One element of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan is the development of the Plug’n Drive-led Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre (EVDC). The EVDC will be the first facility of its kind in the world, and will be entirely focused on providing an experiential learning environment about EVs. At this one-stop shop, consumers will be able to learn about the environmental and economic benefits of EVs and their role in reducing GHG emissions — in Ontario and beyond. Visitors will be able to test drive EV models from leading manufacturers in a family-friendly, no-pressure environment, and to discover how an EV can fit into their lifestyle.

The EVDC will execute a four-year plan for carbon reduction in the transportation sector through education, research, innovation, demonstration, and application to ensure that Ontario both maximizes the benefits of the investment already made in de-carbonizing the electricity sector and capitalizes on the potential of transportation to reduce GHG emissions — a requirement for Ontario to achieve its climate change goals.