Growth in EV Sales Slows Down

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Ian Sam Yue Chi is President of the Quebec Automobile Dealers Corporation (CCAQ). Photo Michel Beaunoyer

While the growth of electric vehicle sales in Quebec is slowing down, the fact remains that this shift towards electrification is unavoidable.

Quebec’s announcement of a gradual reduction in subsidies for the purchase of an electric or hybrid vehicle comes at a time when early adopters are giving way to a critical mass of consumers who are less convinced to go electric.

Without them, the decision to opt for an electric or hybrid vehicle becomes less rational. The idea that there will be price parity between a gasoline-powered vehicle and its electric equivalent by 2027 must be swept under the rug. On average, it takes eight years for a manufacturer to amortize the development and marketing of a new model. We may see a drop in prices, but certainly not parity.

The dealer’s role

This situation is changing dealers’ attitudes. From managing orders and explaining delivery expectations to customers, they must now once again become information and outreach agents. Talking about available subsidies, home recharging solutions, driving practices that extend range, or identifying public charging stations and how they work is now part of their daily routine.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are in stock, and manufacturers are offering more. We’re talking about 80 electric and rechargeable models here, with a further 20 to come next year. It’s all very well for the consumer.

To sell, we’ll have to explain more and convince customers who aren’t necessarily as enthusiastic about the product. It seems obvious to me that people are going to ride more slowly in the electric caravan.

Targets to reconsider

I note that despite this rational hesitation, the federal government is maintaining its Zero Emission Vehicle objectives.

These targets seem over-ambitious to me. It will be difficult to ultimately convert 100% of new light vehicle sales to electric in 2035 if these vehicles remain too expensive for consumers or, as is the case in several provinces, public recharging networks remain anemic.

I believe in the electric shift and its environmental implications. However, I believe that government targets should take into account all the engine solutions offered by manufacturers when calculating emissions from light vehicles. Fuel-saving technology has made remarkable progress over the years, and could play a major role in reducing the transport sector’s carbon footprint.

The transition period would be shorter, and consumers would be able to choose the technology that suits them best, within their budget.



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