Recent studies have claimed that interest in EVs is declining in Canada. A report published earlier this month by Auto Trader found that 56 percent of Canadians intend to purchase an EV at some point in the future. This is a decline from 68 percent in 2022.

However, the real-world sales data says otherwise. The EV sector in Canada continued to experience robust growth in 2023.

EV sales in Canada rose by 42 percent year-over-year during the first three quarters of 2023. 100,644 EVs were sold in Canada between Q1 and Q3, up from 70,835 during the corresponding period in 2022. EV sales in Canada have increased by over 500 percent since 2018.

Even more encouragingly, Canada appears on track to meet its EV sales targets. EV sales as a percentage of overall car sales surged from 3.3 percent in 2020 to 10.3 percent today.

At this rate of growth, EVs will make up over 32 percent of new car sales in Canada by 2026. This will easily surpass the federal government’s goal of 20 percent. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged that zero-emissions vehicles will make up 100 percent of Canadian auto sales by 2035. 

In addition, local and provincial governments announced their own pro-electrification policy changes in 2023. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, approved a plan to phase out gas-powered taxis and ride-sharing vehicles by 2031. Meanwhile, the province of British Columbia moved up its phase-out of gasoline cars from 2040 to 2035.

The biggest challenge facing the Canadian EV sector is the uneven distribution of EVs.

Between Q1 and Q3, British Columbia had the most EV sales per capita, with 456.7 EVs sold per 100,000 people. Quebec was close behind at 448.8 sales per 100,000 people. However, in Saskatchewan (the province with the lowest EV adoption rate), there were only 38.6 EVs sold per 100,000 people.

Experts have attributed Saskatchewan’s EV hesitancy to the province’s brutally cold winters. Drivers in cold climates often resist EVs due to their known range drop in cold weather.

However, EVs also offer little-known advantages over gas cars in winter. In particular, EVs heat up far more rapidly than gas cars do.

Check out this LinkedIn post for some handy visuals of Canadian EV sales data.