The local and federal governments of Canada, along with significant prompting from Electric Mobility Canada, are determined that the nation will keep pace with the United States, Europe and Asia in electrifying its transportation industry.

That sentiment was echoed throughout the EV 2010 VE conference, which featured 3 Canadian MPs and a Deputy Mayor of the city of Vancouver all espousing a commitment to supporting the rollout of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Vancouver, which wants to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, claims to have more than twice the national average of hybrid adoption, and its largely urban (73%) population primarily takes the short jaunts (less than 30 kilometers) that are well-suited for EVs. The city aspires to having the highest per capita penetration of EVs in the world.

The federal goal is to have 500,000 plug-in and electric vehicles on Canadian roads by 2018. Between 2010 and 2015, Pike Research expects that nearly 82,000 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles will be sold in Canada. Currently, only Ontario has established incentives for purchasing EVs (between $5,000 and $8,500), while the government of British Columbia is reportedly considering establishing a consumer incentive. Vancouver does has a very progressive law towards EV charging readiness, as it enacted legislation that requires 20% of all new residential parking spots to include wiring that can accommodate EV charging.

Canada has advantages over the U.S. in promoting EVs. The country, especially in British Columbia, which boasts approximately 80% of power from renewable resources, can more easily justify the move to EVs to reduce carbon emissions. EV owners can also expect to save even more on transportation “fuel” since the relative cost of gasoline (near $4 per gallon U.S.) to electricity is much higher. This will considerably shorten the payback period for fleets and consumers to switch from an ICE to an EV.

For Canada to reach its goals for EV penetration, the country would likely need to institute significant government incentives for purchasing vehicles and charging infrastructure The U.S. DOE’s consumer incentives, along with industry incentives for producing lithium ion batteries, are thought to be encouraging automotive OEMs to invest in EV production and to spur consumer interest. Similar incentives to the north would greatly enhance the likelihood that Canada could reach six figures in annual EV production by the latter part of the decade.

Source: Pike Research.