Canadians who live outside the three provinces offering electric-vehicle rebates might be feeling left out of a growing EV market in Canada, but carmakers say they’re just following demand.
Hyundai, which recently added the Ioniq in both hybrid and EV models, said it wasn’t the company’s intent to shut out provinces without rebates from the EV model.
“We offered Ioniq EV to all our dealers,” said Chad Heard, spokesman for Hyundai Canada. “What we told them was ‘show us a picture of a Level II charging station at your dealership, and we’ll give you allocations.’”
With one exception — a dealer in Alberta — the 98 dealers who raised their hands were in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, the three provinces offering rebates on EVs. Those 98 dealers are nearly half of the 215 Canadian stores flying the Hyundai banner, said Heard.
Toyota Canada, meanwhile, has launched its new Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid, in just one province.
“For now, we are focusing our efforts on the Quebec market, which shows the highest adoption of alternative-fuel vehicles in the country,” said Toyota Canada spokeswoman Melanie Testani.
“Our strategic decision to release the Prius Prime in Quebec is primarily a matter of supply and demand, to provide vehicles where they sell, especially when we have a limited allocation to distribute.”
Testani said the Prius Prime will roll out to other provinces over time, but that schedule has not been determined.
Heard said that EV technology is expensive relative to internal combustion, and that provincial rebates are the sole driver of EV sales in Canada. The goal is one day to have price parity with gasoline vehicles.
“That’s the expectation. With mass production, your costs come down. Each Ioniq we build gets incrementally cheaper. With each successive sale, the next generation gets cheaper.”
The Prius Prime in Quebec has a price of $35,204, plus $1,715 freight, and not including a $4,000 Quebec rebate. The Ioniq EV, meanwhile, has a starting price of $35,649 plus $1,705 freight. In Ontario, buyers get a $14,000 rebate.
Heard said the typical transaction price for gasoline vehicles is in the high-$20,000 range. That’s the target for EV pricing without rebates.
Hyundai dealers outside the three rebate provinces say consumers appear to be satisfied to get the Ioniq hybrid for a starting price of $24,299.
Little EV interest
“I’ve sold a few of them (Ionic hybrid),” said Jason McLean, general sales manager at Focus Hyundai in Winnipeg. “Customers haven’t been asking about the EV.”
Ryan Dyck, sales manager at Winnipeg Hyundai, echoed the sentiment. “We have people coming in to look at the hybrid, but we don’t get a lot of questions about the electric.”