Canada is poised to bid farewell to gas-powered vehicles as Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault finalizes new regulations mandating a transition to battery-operated cars, trucks, and SUVs. The move, fulfilling a commitment made by the Liberals over two years ago, sets a 12-year timeline for automakers to phase out combustion engine vehicles. Manufacturers will be required to incrementally increase the proportion of electric models offered for sale each year.

The announcement, made by Guilbeault at George Brown College in Toronto, revealed the Electric Vehicle Availability Standard regulations. These regulations stipulate that by 2026, one in five vehicles put on the Canadian market must be battery electric or longer-range plug-in hybrid models. This requirement will progressively rise to 60% by 2030 and ultimately reach 100% by 2035.

While applauded by environmental groups, automakers express skepticism, insisting that more must be done to encourage electric vehicle (EV) adoption. They call for increased investments in charging infrastructure and enhanced government rebates for EV purchases.

Guilbeault emphasized the pivotal moment, citing significant growth in EV sales in Canada and demand surpassing available supply. The regulations aim to ensure a more significant availability of affordable electric vehicles by compelling companies to align with the new mandate.

Provincial disparities in EV adoption were highlighted, with Quebec and British Columbia leading the way due to provincial EV sales mandates and longer-standing consumer rebates. Guilbeault called for nationwide commitment, urging provinces to emulate successful initiatives.

Despite concerns raised by industry voices, Guilbeault contended that the regulations were crucial to drive the transition to EVs, emphasizing that Canada needs to align with global efforts. He highlighted the federal government’s substantial investments in the EV supply chain, particularly in Ontario.

The new mandate will be regulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, utilizing a credit system for each EV sold. Manufacturers exceeding annual targets can bank credits for future use or sell them to companies falling short. Additionally, automakers investing in public fast-charging stations can cover part of their annual credits.

As Canada embarks on this ambitious transition, discussions continue regarding charging infrastructure, residential capacity, and the role of government incentives in accelerating the shift to electric vehicles. If you have questions about the current electric vehicles available in Canada for 2024, reach out to the Evolve Fleet and we can answer any of your EV-related questions.