As of 2020, zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) accounted for 3.52% of new light-vehicle registrations in Canada with the overwhelming majority of new light vehicles sold still being ICE vehicles.
Despite the enthusiastic media coverage, the adoption of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles has been slow to grow in Canada
To be sure, the growth was still notable as these vehicles accounted for under one percent of new registrations as recently as 2016.
“Currently, the ZEV market leans heavily on incentive programs” commented Andrew King, Managing Partner of DAC “and as incentive programs shift in scope and availability, so too does the demand for these vehicles.”
Demand has been far from uniform across different regions. Ontario actually witnessed a decline in ZEV penetration from 2.05% in 2018 to 1.23% in 2019 as provincial incentives were removed. ZEV share has yet to recover, sitting at 1.75% for 2020.
Looking across the country, battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for 8.40% of new light-vehicle registrations in British Columbia in 2020, the highest share in any province.
At 6.81% for 2020, the ZEV share in Quebec settled below the figure seen in BC, but in terms of volume, nearly half of all Canadian ZEVs registered in 2020 were registered in Quebec.
Indeed, BC and Quebec together accounted for a remarkable 76.0% of all ZEV light vehicle registrations in Canada, with large parts of the Prairies and Atlantic Canada seeing but a scattering of ZEVs sold in 2020.