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Seven in 10 Canadian Car Shoppers Plan to Go Electric

Nearly 70% of Canadians looking to buy a new vehicle within the next five years plan on dumping the internal combustion engine and going with an EV, according to a new KPMG survey. 

Reporting on a January poll of 2,000 Canadians, the accounting giant says the remaining one in three who are still not sold worry about EVs’ price tag, limited battery range, and as-yet inadequate charging infrastructure. Cold-weather reliability is also a concern, even among drivers who are sold on the shift.

But among those ready to switch, 42%“are prepared to spend between C$30,000 and $49,999 and 20% are willing to spend up to $74,999,” writes KPMG. A further third (31%) are hoping to find an EV for less than $30,000.

Whether they declared themselves to be in the market for an EV or not, 77% of survey respondents said any EV worth their dollars had to “run a minimum of 400 kilometres on a full battery.” And among those looking to purchase a car but not considering an EV, 70% said financial incentives (either through tax breaks or at point of purchase) might help change their mind.

And regardless of whether or not they plan to buy a car, 83% of Canadians as a whole “believe the automakers should be required to invest in a national charging infrastructure,” with 89% saying charging stations should be installed wherever gas is pumped and in natural stopping places like grocery stores and shopping malls. 

The poll showed a number of demographic differences, with 79% of car shoppers aged 18 to 44 and 58% of those aged 45 or older “very likely or likely to buy an EV within the next five years.” EVs were more strongly favoured by car shoppers in British Columbia and Quebec (77% and 75%, respectively) than in Alberta and Atlantic Canada (54% and 55%, respectively).

The poll broke along gender lines, as well, with men nine percentage points more likely to buy an EV than women (73% vs. 62%).

“Our poll research illustrates huge consumer demand in Canada for EVs,” said Peter Hatges, KPMG’s national sector leader for automotive. He said that trend puts pressure on manufacturers and governments “to shift gears not only to meet the expected surge in EV sales but to invest heavily in the necessary infrastructure.”

Also of note in the survey was that, while the environment was a big motivator for car buyers to go electric, 61% of those interested in EVs said the pandemic had scared them off public transit and affirmed their belief that they need a personal vehicle. KPMG did not clarify whether those expressing concern about public transit had been regular transit commuters before the arrival of COVID-19.