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Grading Canada’s Progress In Plug-In Electric Cars So Far

Modern electric cars went on sale three years ago, and now we’re starting to see assessments of their progress from a variety of perspectives.

Last year, WWF Canada (the panda people, not the professional wrestlers) set a goal of having 600,000 electric vehicles on Canadian roads by 2020 – or about 3 percent of the country’s vehicle fleet of 20 million.

One year later, the group has issued a status update, grading the country’s progress on these fronts.

WWF proposes that to achieve their 2020 goal, Canada must create conditions where plug-in electric cars enjoy:

comparative pricing (removing the “plug-in price penalty” for early adopters)
extensive charging infrastructure (30,000 public and workplace charging stations by 2020)
broad public awareness (i.e. literacy about plug-in cars among the car-buying public)
available electric models of different car types and at different price levels (“a plug-in for every purse and purpose”, as Alfred Sloan might say)
increased environmental benefits (further cleaning the grid, to heighten electric vehicles’ environmental advantages)

Sun Country Highway electric-car charging station, Burnaby, BC, Canada [photo: Matthew Klippenstein]

Sun Country Highway electric-car charging station, Burnaby, BC, Canada [photo: Matthew Klippenstein]

Calculating market share

The group pegs plug-in electric vehicles at about 0.32 percent of the Canadian new car market today, or about double the 0.15 percent calculated in our monthly Canadian plug-in electric sales reports.

The difference comes because the WWF excludes light-duty trucks and sport-utility vehicles from its analysis–because electric options aren’t yet available in those market segments.
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