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Is Canada Ready for Electric Vehicles?

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Canadians seem to need more information about crucial aspects of EV ownership. Photo Adobe Stock

Survey suggests Canadians need more education around EV ownership, insurance and infrastructure requirements.

As the country gears up for the rise of electric vehicles (EV), many drivers have questions about how prepared Canada is to embrace this transformative technology. 

According to a 2023 Ipsos Canada survey commissioned by BrokerLink, a subsidiary of Intact Financial Corporation, Canadians seem to need more information about crucial aspects of EV ownership, such as infrastructure requirements and insurance implications,  and one of Canada’s largest property and casualty insurance brokerages.

The survey

The survey revealed that seven in ten (71% Canadians who own gas-powered vehicles are reluctant to give them up. Yet, six in ten (59%) Canadians, who don’t currently have an EV, are excited to drive one in the future. Meanwhile, the same proportion (59%) of Canadians say they will consider an EV for their next vehicle purchase and nearly two-thirds (64%) of Canadians say they want to drive an EV for environmental reasons, including to reduce their carbon emissions.

“The survey findings suggest there are significant gaps in people’s understanding, regarding the adoption of EVs in Canada,” says Grant Clarke, Vice President, National Personal Insurance at BrokerLink. “As we move towards the EV era, we wanted to capture insights to better understand Canadians’ sentiment towards EVs and gauge their knowledge around auto insurance policies for this vehicle type, which is why we commissioned the survey.”

In the survey, Canadians identified several concerns about switching from gas vehicles to EV, indicating that more education and support is needed to empower them in their transition towards EVs.

Response NAT’L BC AB SK/MB ON QC AC
Expensive 88 % 85 % 92 % 96 % 90 % 80 % 91 %
Challenges with charging 85 % 84 % 89 % 92 % 86 % 77 % 90 %
Technology is too new (how do EVs perform in winter/summer, are auto technicians trained for repairs, cost of parts, etc.) 81 % 76 % 85 % 89 % 83 % 76 % 86 %
Concerned that the cost/benefits aren’t there over the long run (gas savings, service repairs, insurance rates) 81 % 80 % 86 % 89 % 86 % 68 % 85 %
Cost of insurance premiums on an EV 78 % 82 % 82 % 86 % 79 % 68 % 94 %

Additionally, when deciding to make the switch from a gasoline-powered to an EV, Canadians report the following as the top factors:

Responses NAT’L BC AB SK/MB ON QC AC
Availability of charging infrastructure 89 % 93 % 90 % 90 % 91 % 84 % 92 %
Cost savings on fuel and maintenance 87 % 90 % 86 % 90 % 90 % 81 % 88 %
Range anxiety (concerns about the driving range of EVs) 84 % 82 % 86 % 91 % 87 % 77 % 90 %
Auto insurance implications 84 % 82 % 86 % 86 % 87 % 76 % 89 %
Government incentives or rebates 81 % 84 % 79 % 80 % 82 % 76 % 83 %

EVs and Canadians’ knowledge of auto insurance implications

According to the survey, only a quarter (24%) of Canadians are currently familiar with EV auto insurance policies, while two in ten (20%) don’t expect that an EV policy would have any specific benefits related to EVs. When asked about the features/benefits Canadians expect from EV auto insurance policy, the top three included:

  • Coverage for battery-related repairs (60%)
  • Coverage for charging equipment or infrastructure (53%)
  • Additional coverage for specialized EV components (52%)
  • Lower insurance premiums compared to gasoline-powered cars (46%)

Meanwhile, Canadians seem to be more concerned about the type of car they drive, with a notable percentage (82%) believing that factors like SUV, compact, or sports car classifications have a more significant impact on their insurance premiums compared to whether the vehicle is electric or gas-powered (56%). Safety features, including anti-theft devices, airbags, and all-wheel drive, also factor significantly (71%) into their considerations when it comes to insurance premiums.

 

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