The Canadian government is now working to create an advisory group that will recommend policies that can be pursued to increase adoption rates for electric vehicles, according to recent reports.
The new advisory group will reportedly contain members from a variety of environmental groups and auto industry firms and organizations. The goal is to create and implement a new EV policy plan by 2018.
Unsurprisingly, there seems to be some disagreement amongst the various groups and individuals involved about the best course of action to take — particularly with regard to whether federal policy in Canada should require that a certain percentage of total new vehicle sales is represented by zero emissions vehicles.
Here’s more: “Some environmental groups are urging governments to adopt aggressive regulations that would require half the vehicles sold in 2025 to be zero emission, a goal the auto industry rejects as wildly optimistic.
“The electricity sector, including local distribution companies, also has a big stake in the development of a policy and is eager to see a heightened effort to get more electric vehicles on the road.
“Canadians bought just 4,000 electric or plug-in electric vehicles in 2015, 0.02% of total new vehicle sales. Quebec legislation requires that ZEVs represent 15.5% of sales by 2025, with a target of having 100,000 such vehicles on the road by 2020. …
“One auto industry source who said he would not speak publicly until after the announcement said a national policy is needed, but mandating that ZEVs make up a certain percentage of sales is the wrong approach. Automakers that sell in Canada don’t control the supply of such vehicles and can’t control consumer tastes, he said.”
When creating its policy recommendations, the advisory group will reportedly be considering the possibilities of fast-charging station support/buildout; education and public awareness initiatives; potential impacts on the job market and economic growth; and vehicle supply.
Interestingly, by coincidence or not, researchers at a Canadian university — Simon Fraser University — determined years ago that ZEV mandates for manufacturers were critical for achieving high ZEV sales and adequately working to combat global warming.
A statement from the Canadian government about the initiative follows.
Government of Canada to develop a national Zero-Emissions Vehicle Strategy by 2018
Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport and the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced that the Government of Canada is moving forward with provincial and territorial partners, industry and stakeholders, to develop a national strategy to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVS) on Canadian roads by 2018.
Transportation accounts for about 24 percent of Canada’s emissions, mostly from cars and trucks. ZEVs which include battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, offer the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the light-duty vehicle sector. Canada is also uniquely placed to take advantage of the opportunities associated with the advanced technology driving this evolution – including innovation, R&D and talent – to create high quality middle class jobs.
Under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, federal, provincial and territorial governments committed to work with industry and stakeholders to develop a Canada-wide ZEV strategy by 2018. This strategy will be ambitious and will build on existing initiatives, such as light-duty vehicle regulations, provincial ZEV programs, and Canadian innovation superclusters, to help meet our 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and realize our potential as a global leader in innovation and the clean economy.
To advance the strategy, a national Advisory Group has been established to contribute to developing options for addressing the key barriers for greater deployment of these technologies in five areas: vehicle supply, cost and benefits of ownership, infrastructure readiness, public awareness, and clean growth and clean jobs. The Advisory Group includes representatives from governments, industry, consumer and non-government organizations and academia.
The Government of Canada has made an important start in supporting further deployment of ZEVs by providing $62.5 million through Budget 2016 and an additional $120 million through Budget 2017 for Natural Resources Canada to deploy infrastructure for electric vehicle charging and refuelling stations for alternative fuel such as natural gas and hydrogen, as well as to support technology demonstration projects. Investments like this will make it easier for Canadian ZEV drivers to travel farther, enabling them to do their part to address our climate change challenge.
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