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Which of Canadians or Americans Are More Willing to Go Electric?

| Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Daniel Rufiange
A new study shows price, range continue to be concerns for many Canadians when it comes to electric vehicles

Between Canadian and American consumers, which are more ready to make the transition to an electric vehicle? The answer to this question might seem obvious, but hold on.

How obvious the answer seems is probably a function of where you live in Canada. In Quebec and British Columbia, for example, there is a great deal of openness to switching to EVs.

However, nationwide, the picture is far less clear, according to the results of a survey conducted by J.D. Power Canada. Its study found that 53 percent of Canadian consumers are “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to consider an electric vehicle when replacing their vehicle. This contrasts with the U.S. where 59 percent of consumers nationwide say they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to consider an all-electric for their next new vehicle.

J.D. Ney, director of the automotive practice at J.D. Power Canada, says there are “several unique systemic challenges in Canada” that translate into hesitancy regarding electric vehicles.

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Volvo XC40 Recharge
Volvo XC40 Recharge | Photo: D.Boshouwers

For example, 6 in 10 Canadian consumers who say they’re unlikely to consider an electric vehicle cite purchase price as a primary reason. Only 44 percent of U.S. consumers feel the same way.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget that only two provinces, Quebec ($7,000 as of July 1) and British Columbia, offer large EV discounts in addition to the federal one, which significantly lowers the bill (several other provinces offer smaller discounts). Not surprisingly, it’s in those two provinces that consumers are most likely to take the plunge.

In the U.S., the federal electric vehicle tax credit remains in effect that can mean up to $7,500 back into the pockets of EV buyers. At least eight states, including California and New York, offer additional rebates of at least $2,000. And vehicle prices are a bit lower in general south of our border.

The percentage of buyers likely to go electric is highest in British Columbia at 59 percent, while in supposedly EV-loving Quebec that figure actually only reaches 50 percent, according to J.D. Power Canada’s study.

Less interest is shown by residents of Ontario (47 percent), the Prairies (38 percent) and the Atlantic Provinces (35 percent).

Kia EV6
Kia EV6 | Photo: D.Boshouwers

So what’s holding back all those Canadian consumers? There's price, as mentioned. Then, range is a concern for 65 percent of respondents, in contrast with the U.S., where only 44 percent of potential buyers are scared off by that. Obviously, the harsher weather when winter hits also plays a big role in dissuading buyers – 44 percent of Canadians are concerned about it.

The study came up with other findings, of course, including that even with the levels of hesitancy remaining high, the level of acceptance of electric vehicles is growing. The J.D. Power survey was conducted in April and May of this year and a total of 3701 consumers were polled.

See also: New Study Shows What Makes Buyers Skittish About EVs Today

Hyundai Ioniq 5
Hyundai Ioniq 5 | Photo: D.Boshouwers
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists