The state of the evolving electric-vehicle market in Canada is a tale of two extremes; it’s either wonderful or awful, depending on where in the country the story is unfolding.
In Quebec, there are significant consumer rebates and a government zero-emission vehicle sales mandate has been in place since 2018. As a result, Bourgeois Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Rawdon, about 80 kilometres north of Montreal, can’t keep EVs in stock, said Sales Consultant Hugo Jeanson.
But in Alberta, with no provincial rebates and no ZEV sales mandate, McManes Automotive Group President Jim McManes has a surplus of EVs sitting on the lots. McManes has 18 franchised dealerships in Western Canada.
In 2022, Quebec had 13.2 per cent of national ZEV registrations, according to auto analyst S&P Global Mobility. Alberta, with about half the population, accounted for 3.5 per cent.
Consumers in McManes’ part of the country are spooked by the dearth of charging stations and the high cost of EVs, he said.
The average price of a gasoline-powered compact utility vehicle before any incentive is $43,000, compared with $62,000 for a compact electric utility vehicle, said Robert Karwel, senior manager of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power.
“We’re a huge truck market in Western Canada, and a lot of my customers don’t want an electric vehicle until the technology is way better, and they have range and towing power,” McManes said.
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