WWF-Canada Blog:

How are we doing? – The Transportation rEVolution status report

One year into our Transportation rEVolution, it’s time to pop the hood and see how we’re doing. We’ve done the research and crunched the numbers. Now we’re ready to unveil our inaugural status update on WWF’s campaign to see 600,000 electric vehicles on Canadian roads by 2020.

The big news? Charging infrastructure.

© WWF-Canada/James Carpenter

© WWF-Canada/James Carpenter

Hydro Quebec’s Electric Circuit program has partnered with businesses to install more than 200 charging stations across the province. The B.C. government also stepped up to the plate in a major way, installing 475 in under a year. Even private companies are getting in on the game: last year, Sun Country Highway installed more than 200 new charging stations across the country.

With more than 1,000 public charging stations now available, Canadians can charge up at the shopping mall, hardware store or highway rest stop. It also puts our ratio of EVs to public charging stations on par with green transportation leaders like Norway.

But where Norway continues to beat us hands down is in hard numbers. Compare the total number of electric vehicles between our two countries. Here at home, we have over 4,000 EVs on our roads. That’s a 148 per cent increase over last year, but it’s still just a tiny fraction of all vehicles.

Meanwhile, the population of Norway is one-seventh the size of ours, yet it has more than triple the number of EVs zipping around their streets and highways (14,462 to be exact).

© WWF-Canada/James Carpenter

© WWF-Canada/James Carpenter

Price continues to be a big barrier for Canadians. So it’s no surprise the vast majority of EV sales in Canada come from Ontario, B.C. and Quebec—all of which have introduced significant purchase incentives. We need these programs to continue and expand to other provinces.

And considering only seven per cent of Canadians have seen, driven or ridden in an electric vehicle, a LOT of work needs to be done to increase public awareness and experience.

Canada’s numbers of EVs are improving, but they’re still well shy of where we think we could be. So if we’re going to achieve our 600,000 EV goal, we need to shift into high gear and put the pedal to the metal.

Check out our status update infographic to get informed about Canada’s progress and our recommendations going forward.

Download the full report.

  • Rebecca Spring says:

    Hi SENWI, Thank you for your comment. Source or upstream energy is a very real issue that must be considered when talking about electric vehicles. While you are correct that there is a lot of coal in the North American grid, when you look at the Canadian grid, the case for EVs (on a lifecycle basis) is very good. We conducted research based on the government of Canada’s data and found that EVs were the best alternative fuel option based on lifecycle GHG emissions, producing 60% less emissions than a conventional vehicle of the same size: http://awsassets.wwf.ca/downloads/technical_brief___ghg_emissions_reduction_potential_of_alternative_transportation_fue.pdf.

    This analysis was at a national level, so things change on regional basis, and you are correct, in some regions in Canada, a hybrid vehicle could produce less emissions – check out our chart here to see how your region ranks: http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/global_warming/going_electric/.

    While we are supporting EVs, we are also working to increase renewable electricity generation, both roles in effort to reach our target of 100% renewable energy by 2050.http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/global_warming/energy_report.cfm. Of course reducing the use of personal vehicles by switching to public transit or active transportation can make a huge difference too!

  • Rebecca Spring says:

    Hi Randy – we completely agree that electric vehicles need to accompany renewable energy. In fact, our electric vehicle work falls completely within our renewable energy campaign – working to get off of fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy by 2050. You can find out more about that campaign here: http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/global_warming/energy_report.cfm.

    That’s why places like BC and QC make so much sense for electric vehicles. In Ontario, it is important to make sure that EVs are charging at off-peak times when there is extra energy in our grid. Thankfully, this can happen as most EV owners choose to charge their car at night (when there are low time of use rates).

    There is certainly more to be done! Some of the things we’re interested in are: complementing public EV chargers with renewable energy, recruiting long-term renewable electricity targets from provinces, and raising awareness about the benefits of charging at night.

  • Christopher Hill says:

    Great update. With the introduction of 5 more EV models – Chevrolet Spark, BMW i3, Cadillac ELR. Mitsubishi Outlander and Kia Soul in 2014, consumer choice will be much better. Let’s encourage more employers to put in workplace charging.

  • NewCycle says:

    Just ordered an electric vehicle, and the incentive in BC definitely factored in. Other provinces should join in asap. It’s in no province’s interest to continue to expand greenhouse gas emissions.

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