Canada lays out road map for electric vehicle key 2035 targets

Click to play video: 'Canada to phase out sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2035'
Canada to phase out sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2035
WATCH: The federal government has unveiled its roadmap to phase out the sale of gas and diesel passenger vehicles by 2035, marking the beginning of a big shift in Canada's automaker industry. Abigail Bimman explains – Dec 19, 2023

Ottawa has unveiled new regulations for all electric vehicles (EVs) in Canada.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault announced new standards that he says will provide more affordable EVs and more charging stations.

“The Government of Canada is helping to ensure we don’t get left behind and that we keep driving towards the opportunities being created,” Guilbeault said, speaking from George Brown College.

The federal government had previously announced that all vehicles sold in the country must emit zero emissions by 2035. Tuesday’s announcement clarified the schedule for the regulations, who is affected by them, and how the carmakers can comply.

The federal government is now mapping out the path for how it wants that to happen, now requiring 20 per cent of all cars, SUVs, crossovers and light-duty pickups sold by carmakers to emit zero emissions by 2026. By 2030 60 per cent of all cars sold must be zero emissions.

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Emergency vehicles like firetrucks and ambulances will be exempt.

Carmakers will earn, lose and bank credits, worth $20,000 for every vehicle that has an all-electric range of at least 80 kilometres, for meeting, exceeding and failing to meet sales targets.

Companies will be forced to pay one credit for every vehicle not sold under their target. They can also begin earning credits right away for selling EVs before 2026 and for building fast-charging stations.

Companies will only be able to offset 10 per cent of their total compliance.

Click to play video: 'Ottawa to reveal details of electric vehicle regulations'
Ottawa to reveal details of electric vehicle regulations

The environment ministry will monitor compliance and will impose fines if carmakers violate the regulations.

And Guilbeault told reporters the credit system will incentivize carmakers to build charging stations across the country – including in multi-unit buildings like apartments or along long stretches of highway.

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He said the federal government is looking to update building codes to ensure that new multi-unit structures “will have the electrical capacity to accommodate charging stations.”

Around 80 per cent of EV drivers charge at home, he said.

The government will place a cap on each model year on the amount of company’s plug-in hybrids. Plug-ins with an electric range of at least 80 kilometres will be worth the same as battery-electric or fuel cell vehicles.

Plug-ins with electric ranges between 35 and 79 kilometres can earn full or partial credits, depending on the model year and seating capacity.

The government’s strategy also states regulations are designed to bring more EVs into the market, which – coupled with incentives from the federal and some provincial governments – will make them more affordable for lower-income Canadians.

The minister said he expects EVs to reach similar prices as conventional vehicles by the late 2020s — and to become cheaper over the lifespan of a vehicle.

Tim Reuss, Canadian Automobile Dealers Association CEO, told Global News the federal plan didn’t provide enough concrete details to convince consumers.

“Charging at home is a challenge for a lot of people that live in multi-family settings and or in houses where they [don’t have] have] a driveway [and] they need to park on the street,” he said.
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“How are they supposed to do this?”

He said Canadians need a reliable charging network across the country that works in -40 weather in rural Saskatchewan or Manitoba.

And he said Guilbeault’s argument that EVs are less expensive to maintain than gas-powered vehicles doesn’t help Canadians who can’t afford them.

“The government mandates something and yet it then makes the private sector responsible for delivering it,” he said, speaking from Toronto.

“At least they’re going to provide some incentives to it.

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