MONTREAL — The Government of Quebec said on Monday it will ban the sale of new gasoline powered passenger cars and trucks as of 2035, joining jurisdictions like California and British Columbia in announcing moves to shift to electric vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada’s second most populous province announced the ban as part of broader efforts through a C$6.7 billion ($5.1 billion) plan over five years to reduce emissions, Premier Francois Legault told reporters.
“We are aiming for a target of 1.5 million electric vehicles on Quebec roads in 2030,” the premier said in a statement on the government’s website.
Brian Kingston, CEO of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, said Quebec is taking the wrong approach in its efforts to encourage sales of electric vehicles.
“Banning the sale of internal combustion engines will not speed the transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) in Quebec,” he said. “ Consumers need more support to buy new ZEVs, not bans on internal combustion vehicles.”
Sales of ZEVs in Quebec accounted for 6.8 per cent of new-vehicle sales in the first half of 2020, representing less than 0.4 per cent of the entire on-road fleet in the province, according to the CVMA, which represents the interests of the Detroit Three in Canada.
“Some 41 models of electric vehicles are now available for sale to Quebec consumers but much more needs to be done by government to help them afford to make the switch,” Kingston said. “A faster transition requires a greater ranges of financial and other consumer incentives, accessible home and workplace charging infrastructure and more education about electric vehicles.
“Engagement with industry will help accelerate the transition far more than bans on internal combustion vehicles and restricting consumer choice.”
Kingston said his members — FCA, GM and Ford — are doing their part in the fight against climate change “by investing billions in electrification and bringing more electric vehicle models to market than ever before.”
To Kingston's point, Quebec will also renew the rebates on the purchase or rental of an electric vehicle and charging stations for citizens. Currently, the government offers individuals, businesses, organizations and Quebec municipalities a rebate of up to $8,000 on the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle.
The government said it will also do its part by electrifying its provincial fleet of light vehicles as much as possible so that by 2030, 100 per cent of its cars, vans and SUVs, as well as 25 per cent of its pickups, will be electric.
While the premier didn’t offer details on how, he said the province will also be “raising of the requirements of the standard on zero-emission vehicles to encourage manufacturers to supply the Quebec market with a greater number of vehicles and a greater variety of models.”
The ban will bring Quebec in line with other jurisdictions such as California, the largest U.S. auto market, which in September announced a move to electric vehicles starting in 2035.
British Columbia has already moved to phase out fuel-powered cars and trucks over a two-decade period, with a total ban on their sale or lease coming into effect in 2040.
The United Kingdom is also said to be working on a similar decision.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised sweeping measures to fight climate change and boost economic growth, including making zero-emission vehicles more affordable and investing in charging stations across the country.
While the coronavirus pandemic has forced the Liberal leader to focus more on emergency aid to help businesses and people get through the downturn, the government has committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 and is expected to begin earmarking investments in a fiscal update before Christmas and a separate budget early next year.
Reuters and Greg Layson of Automotive News Canada contributed to this report.