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Bill Kelly: Are Canadians ready to embrace electric vehicles?

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives

To be sure, it’s good news for the auto industry and good news for the Oakville Ford plant that the federal and provincial governments are tag-teaming in a multi-billion dollar investment at that plant for the production of electric cars and the production of the batteries for those vehicles.

In light of plant closures in Oshawa and Brampton a few years ago, the future of the Oakville plant was in doubt, but this infusion of cash is hopefully not just a stay of execution, but an adrenaline hit to breathe new life into the Ontario economy.

READ MORE: Ottawa, Ontario rolling out half a billion dollars for Ford’s electric vehicle overhaul

Yet the bigger question is, will the Canadian consumer buy into the premise that electric vehicles are the future?

Electric cars account for only about three per cent of vehicle sales in Canada and that is not enough to sustain this pivot in the auto industry.

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I think Canadians want to embrace zero emission vehicles, but at this point, they don’t think that this technology suits their needs.

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Canada is spread out. We drive long distances between home and cottage or between home and family in some other city, and we don’t want to have to stop halfway there to re-charge the battery.

And, by the way, it gets cold in Canada and that reduces battery life.

I want this investment to be successful and I want Canadian consumers to buy into it, but I don’t think we’re there yet.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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