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Business in Vancouver

Canada’s electric car market in the slow lane

Number of cars, infrastructure lag behind those of smaller countries, says international report

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2016, 4:11am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2016, 11:14am

There are now over a million electric cars on roads across the world, but is Canada doing its part to contribute?

According to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), there are 1.26 million battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles being used in various countries.

There are now 100 times as many electric cars than there were just five years ago, with 550,000 vehicles being sold world wide in 2015. According to the IEA report, new registrations of electric cars increased by 70 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

While the world may be progressing to greener transport, Canada isn’t featured prominently in the report. Canada contributed less to the increase in electric cars than countries, such as Norway and the Netherlands, with a fraction of Canada’s population.

In 2015 Canada had 6,960 newly registered electric cars, up 37 per cent from 2014 and up 1,238 per cent from 2011, when it had just 520 newly registered electric cars. While this was a large increase, Canada has just 0.4 per cent of the world's electric cars. The country’s electric car stock is dwarfed by that of other, smaller countries including Norway and the Netherlands wwhich have 35,000 and 43,000 respectively.

Canada is also behind on creating infrastructure needed for a large amount of electric cars. Canada has 1 per cent of the total private car charging outlets worldwide, and its 513 public charging stations amount to just 2 per cent of the word’s publicly available charging stations. By contrast, the Netherlands alone has over 18,000 public charging stations.

While electric vehicles have a long way to go to be considered a threat to traditional fuel combustion vehicles, they have gained 1 per cent of the market share in seven countries including France, the UK and China, which has emerged as the main electric vehicle market. According to the report, China had more electric car sales then the United States and is also home to the “strongest global deployment” of electric buses.