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EV Apprehension: New survey says there are still many barriers preventing Canadians from adopting EVs, which could be worrisome for automotive industry

Toronto, Ontario — Across Canada, collision repair facilities and automakers have been preparing for the future: electric vehicles. 

Trying to stay ahead of the electric curve, many shops have obtained EV certifications, invested in new equipment and training. While, automakers have been pumping out electric vehicles left, right and center—with more than 130 new EVs coming to the Canadian market by 2023. 

However, according to a new survey there are still many barriers preventing Canadians from adopting EVs, which could be worrisome for automakers and shops who have made significant investments to prepare for the electrification of the automotive landscape. 

“The debate about electric vehicle supply is over,” said David Adams, President & CEO of the GAC. “With over 130 new electric vehicles coming to the Canadian market by 2023, we must address the well-known barriers to consumer electric vehicle adoption.”

The survey, conducted by Leger for the CVMA and Global Automakers of Canada (GAC), offers insights into the key barriers to consumer adoption of EVs in Canada. The findings are based on an online survey of over 2,000 Canadians completed between March 19 to 27, 2021.

According to the poll, the top reasons Canadians cited for not purchasing an EV are limited driving range (55 percent), higher purchase price (54 percent), a lack of public charging infrastructure (47 percent), and the time required to charge (45 percent). Concerns with EV inventory at dealerships or a lack of models to suit consumer needs were two of the three least-cited reasons for not purchasing an EV.

Three-quarters of respondents noted concerns with EV driving ranges and lengthy charging time when travelling. Another 57 percent do not know where or how to access vehicle charging at their home. Addressing consumer concerns with EV ranges and charging infrastructure will be critical to encouraging more Canadians to make the switch.

EV consumer education remains a significant barrier to widespread adoption with only two-in-ten Canadian’s feeling they have done sufficient research on EVs. 

Only 4 percent of respondents are of the number of EVs currently available in Canada, and just 38 percent of consumers are aware that the government has a consumer EV purchase rebate of up to $5,000 available.

An encouraging finding is that there is widespread support for government efforts to help Canadians to purchase EVs. 

The most popular policies and programs cited include tax (GST/HST) deductions (51 percent), free access to public charging infrastructure (45 percent), government consumer EV purchase incentives (45 percent), preferential EV insurance rates (43 percent) and free annual registrations for EV owners (39 percent).

The transition to electric vehicles will not be easy. Even with significant support by federal and provincial governments, there are several barriers preventing Canadians from purchasing an electric car. 

And if the shift towards an electric future doesn’t happen soon, it may put many shops and manufacturers at risk. 

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