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HandWiki. Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Canada. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 23 April 2024).
HandWiki. Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Canada. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 23, 2024.
HandWiki. "Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Canada" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 23, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 09). Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Canada. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Canada." Encyclopedia. Web. 09 November, 2022.
Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Canada

The stock of plug-in electric passenger cars in Canada in use totaled 141,060 units at the end of 2019, consisting of 78,680 all-electric cars and 62,380 plug-in hybrids. Sales totaled 50,960 units in 2019. The Chevrolet Volt was the top selling plug-in hybrid, with cumulative sales of 13,619 units through December 2017, and the Tesla Model S was the top selling all-electric car with 6,731 units as of December 2017. Quebec is the regional market leader in Canada, with about 11,000 plug-in electric cars registered (As of September 2016), of which, 55% are plug-in hybrids. Registrations in the province totaled 3,100 units in 2015, representing a market share of 0.7% of new car sales, and 45% of total Canadian plug-in electric car sales that year.

electric car sales electric passenger cars electric cars

1. Government Incentives

Several electric cars charging in downtown Toronto. From farthest to closest, a Nissan Leaf, a Smart ED, and a Mitsubishi i MiEV.

Purchase incentives for new plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were established in Ontario consisting of a rebate between CA$5,000 (4 kWh battery) to $8,500 (17 kWh or more), depending on battery size, for purchasing or leasing a new PEV after July 1, 2010. The rebates were available to the first 10,000 applicants who qualify.[1][2] The province also introduced green-coloured licence plates for exclusive use of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles.[1][3][4] These unique green vehicle plates allow PEV owners to travel in the province's carpool lanes until 2015 regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle. Also, owners are eligible to use recharging stations at GO Transit and other provincially owned parking lots.[1][4]

Quebec began offering rebates of up to $8,000 beginning on January 1, 2012, for the purchase of new plug-in electric vehicles equipped with a minimum of 4 kWh battery, and new hybrid electric vehicles are eligible for a $1,000 rebate. All-electric vehicles with high-capacity battery packs were eligible for the full $8,000 rebate, and incentives were reduced for low-range electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Quebec's government earmarked $50 million for the program, and the maximum rebate amount was set to be slowly reduced every year until a maximum of $3,000 in 2015, but the rebates would continue until the fund runs out. There was also a ceiling for the maximum number of eligible vehicles: 10,000 for all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, and 5,000 for conventional hybrids.[5][6]

In November 2013, the provincial government announced its decision to earmark in 2014 an additional $65 million to fund a three-year extension to the electric-vehicle rebate program. The maximum rebate was kept at $8,000, but a graded scale was introduced in order to spread the incentive over 10,000 or more vehicles.[7] Quebec's government also set the goal to deploy 12,500 more electric vehicles in the province by 2017, consisting of 10,200 consumer cars, 325 taxis, and 2,000 government-fleet vehicles.[7] Also, incentives were issued for "greening" 525 taxis, aimed to introduce 325 plug-in vehicles (275 plug-in hybrids and 50 all-electrics) and 200 conventional hybrids. The purchase incentives start at $20,000 for battery-electric taxis, $12,000 for plug-in hybrids, and $3,000 for conventional hybrids, with the rebate declining over time. The province planned to also subsidize the deployment of charging stations for taxis.[7]

In October 2016, the National Assembly of Quebec passed a new zero emission vehicle legislation that obliges any carmaker who sells in the Canadian province more than 4,500 new vehicles per year over a three-year average, to offer their customers a minimum number of plug-in hybrid and all-electric models. Under the new law, 3.5% of the total number of autos sold by carmakers in Quebec have to be zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) starting in 2018, rising to 15.5% in 2020. A tradable credit system was created for those carmakers not fulfilling their quotas to avoid financial penalties. The quotas will be determined by Quebec's Ministry of Sustainable Development. Quebec became the first Canadian province to pass such legislation, joining ten U.S. states, including California, that have similar ZEV laws. Quebec aims to have 100,000 zero emission vehicles on the road by 2020.[8][9] Initially, the provincial government set the goal in 2011 to have 300,000 plug-in vehicles on the roads by 2020.[5]

In 2011, British Columbia announced the LiveSmart BC program which will start offering rebates of up to $5,000 per eligible clean energy vehicle commencing on December 1, 2011. The incentives will be available until March 31, 2013 or until available funding is depleted, whichever comes first. Available funds are enough to provide incentives for approximately 1,370 vehicles. Battery electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids with battery capacity of 15.0 kWh and above are eligible for a $5,000 incentive. Also effective December 1, 2011, rebates of up to $500 per qualifying electric vehicle charging equipment will be available to B.C. residents who have purchased a clean energy vehicle.[10][11]

2. Taxation

In its 2021–22 budget, the province of Saskatchewan announced that all electric vehicles will be subject to an annual road usage fee of $150 per-year, because electric vehicles do not contribute to fuel taxes that are used to fund highway maintenance. The tax has faced criticism from electric vehicle owners and from regina mayor Sandra Masters for deterring electric vehicle ownership.[12][13][14] The fee came into force on October 1st, 2021.[15]

3. Models Available

In January 2009, Hydro-Québec and Mitsubishi signed an agreement to test 50 i-MiEV, at the time, the largest pilot test of electric cars in Canada ever. The test's goal was to allow a better understanding of winter usage of the technology. BC-Hydro and Mitsubishi had previously tested a three-vehicle fleet in British Columbia.[16] In October 2010, Transport Canada and Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada announced a partnership to test the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Transport Canada's ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles (eTV) Program tested two i-MiEVs in government facilities and in a variety of real-world conditions. This program aim was to evaluate the i-MiEV road performance and range.[17] Retail sales of the i-MiEV began in December 2011,[18][19]

The Nissan Leaf roll-out in Canada began with fleet customers on July 29, 2011,[20] and deliveries to individuals began in late September 2011.[21][22] (As of December 2011), the Leaf was sold only through 27 Leaf-certified dealers for the entire country, and sales were limited to customers who live within a 65 km (40 mi) radius of one of those dealers.[23] Cumulative sales through December 2014 reached 1,965 units, and, (As of December 2014), the Leaf ranked as the top selling all-electric car in the country.[24][25]

The Tesla Model S is the all-time top selling pure electric car in Canada. Shown charging in Parksville, British Columbia.

Retail sales of the Tesla Model S began in 2012, with 95 cars delivered that year. A total of 638 units were sold in 2013, and cumulative sales reached 1,580 units through December 2014, allowing the Model S to rank as the second best selling all-electric car in the country.[24][26] During 2014 the BMW i3, Kia Soul EV, BMW i8 and Porsche 918 Spyder were introduced in the Canadian market.[24] The top selling models in 2015 were the Tesla Model S with 2,010 units, followed by the Chevrolet Volt with 1,463, the Nissan Leaf with 1,233, the BMW i3 with 367, and the Kia Soul EV with 318.[27] In 2015, the Model S passed the Nissan Leaf as the all-time best selling all-electric car in Canada.[28][29]

The all-electric Renault Twizy 40 low-speed quadricycle was certified by Transport Canada in March 2016, and was scheduled to be released on the Canadian market by mid-2016.[30]

British Columbia is the only place in the country where it is legal to drive a low-speed vehicle (LSV) electric car on public roads, although it also requires low speed warning marking and flashing lights. Quebec is allowing LSVs in a three-year pilot project. These cars will not be allowed on the highway, but will be allowed on city streets.

4. Sales

There were 18,451 highway legal plug-in electric cars registered in Canada (As of December 2015), of which, 10,034 (54%) are all-electric cars and 8,417 (46%) are plug-in hybrids. These figures include some used imports from the U.S.[31] Until 2014 Canadian sales were evenly split between all-electric cars (50.8)% and plug-in hybrids (49.2%).[24]

The Chevrolet Volt, released in 2011, is the all-time top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the country, with cumulative sales of 6,387 units through May 2015 (representing over 30% of all plug-in cars sold in the country).[27][32][33] Ranking second is the Tesla Model S with 4,160 units sold through April 2016, followed by the Nissan Leaf with 3,692 units delivered (As of May 2016).[25][27][32] The Model S was the top selling plug-in electric car in Canada in 2015 with 2,010 units sold.[27][31]

A total of 1,969 plug-in cars were sold in 2012, up from 521 in 2011. Sales climbed 57.7% in 2013 to 3,106 units, and in 2014 were up 63.0% from 2013 to 5,062 units, reaching cumulative sales of 10,658 plug-in cars through December 2014. The market share of the plug-in electric car segment grew from 0.03% in 2011, to 0.12% in 2012, and reached 0.27% of new car sales in the country in 2014.[24] Cumulative sales reached the 30,000 unit mark in January 2017.[34]

The following table presents new car sales by year of all the highway-capable plug-in electric cars available in Canada between 2011 and December 2015.

Highway-capable plug-in electric new car sales by model
in Canada between 2011 and December 2015
Model Total
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
Chevrolet Volt[33] 5,415 1,463 1,521 931 1,225 275
Tesla Model S[27] 3,590 2,010 847 638 95  
Nissan Leaf[25] 3,198 1,233 1,085 470 240 170
Smart electric drive[27] 1,132 306 561 222 28 15
Mitsubishi i MiEV[35] 617 121 109 168 196 23
Ford C-Max Energi[27] 609 138 272 199    
BMW i3[27] 566 367 199      
Ford Fusion Energi[27] 429 144 169 116    
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid[27] 394 43 76 212 63  
Kia Soul EV[27] 357 318 39      
Ford Focus Electric[27] 244 42 44 103 55  
BMW i8[27] 228 200 28      
Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid[27] 213 213        
Fisker Karma[27] 100   7 26 67  
Cadillac ELR[27] 73 25 44 4    
Chevrolet Spark EV[27] 66 35 26 5    
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid[27] 65 20 45      
Tesla Roadster[27] 53         53
Porsche 918 Spyder[27] 28 21 7      
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron[27] 24 24        
McLaren P1[27] 9 6 3      
BMW X5 xDrive40e[27] 5 5        
Toyota RAV4 EV[27] 4 1   3    
Total new plug-in car sales[27] 17,995 6,990 5,322 3,178 1,969 536
PEV market share of new car sales[27] 0.37% 0.29% 0.18% 0.12% 0.03%
Note: New car sales seldom correspond to registrations figures, as some plug-in model registered are used imports from the U.S.
and some model numbers may declined as more cars are being taken off the road than are being sold.


  1. "Ontario Paves The Way For Electric Vehicles". Newsroom Ontario. 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  2. "Which cars are eligible for Ontario's Electric Vehicle Incentive Program?". Ontario Ministry of Transportation. 2011-09-21. Archived from the original on 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  3. John Loric (2009-07-15). "New Incentives for Electric Cars in Canada". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  4. "Ontario gets new green licence plates". CBC News. 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  5. Eric Loveday (2011-04-11). "Quebec to offer plug-in vehicle rebates of up to C$8,000". AutoblogGreen. Retrieved 2011-06-08. 
  6. "Running on Green Power! Electric Vehicles: 2011-2020 Québec Action Plan". Gouvernement du Québec. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-08.  See Table Box 7 for the rebate details and how it changes by year.
  7. Klippenstein, Matthew (2013-11-07). "Will Quebec Join California, Oregon As Electric-Car Pioneers?". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2016-10-28. 
  8. France Mobilité Électrique - AVERE France (2016-10-28). "L'Assemblée nationale du Québec adopte la loi véhicules zéro émission" (in French). AVERE. Retrieved 2016-10-28. 
  9. Lampert, Allison (2016-10-26). "Quebec approves new law to boost sales of zero emission vehicles". Reuters. Retrieved 2016-10-28. 
  10. "The Clean Energy Vehicle (CEV) Program". LiveSmart BC. 2011-11-05. Archived from the original on 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  11. "Table 1 –Examples of Clean Energy Vehicles and Incentive Levels". LiveSmart BC. Archived from the original on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  12. "Saskatchewan electric vehicle owners hold rally opposing new provincial tax" (in en-US). 
  13. "While Sask. taxes EV owners, some Canadian provinces are offering cash" (in en). 2021-04-09. 
  14. Biber, Francois (2021-04-06). "Environmental economist says Sask.’s new electric vehicle fee is 'mind-boggling'" (in en). 
  15. Masson, Emmanuel (2021-10-01). "Conduire une voiture électrique est maintenant plus cher en Saskatchewan" (in fr-ca). 
  16. Louis Butcher (2010-01-14). "Hydro-Québec s'associe à Mitsubishi pour tester une cinquantaine de véhicules électriques" (in French). Rue Frontenac. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  17. "Government of Canada and Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada partner to conduct all-electric vehicle trials". Transport Canada. 2010-10-20. Archived from the original on 2010-10-24. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  18. Ian Palmer (2012-03-14). "2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV gains traction in Canada". Archived from the original on 2013-10-13. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  19. Michael Bettencourt (2011-10-17). "Cheapest fully electric vehicle coming to Canada soon". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  20. "First Nissan Leaf EV Arrives In Canada". Nissan in the News. 2011-07-29. Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  21. Nissan Canada (2011-09-23). "Nissan Canada delivers first 100% electric Nissan LEAF to Canadian consumer". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  22. Nissan Canada (2011-10-06). "Nissan Canada Delivers British Columbia's First 100% Electric Nissan LEAF to Retail Customer". Canada Newswire. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  23. "Chevrolet Volt handily outselling Nissan LEAF in Canada". Auto North. 2011-12-13. Archived from the original on 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  24. Klippenstein, Matthew (2015-02-06). "Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, January 2015". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2015-02-07.  Estimated sales for Ford Energi models. Tesla Model S, Smart ED and the other figures with yellow background from IHS data.
  25. "Nissan Leaf Sales Figures". Good Car Bad Car. January 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  26. "Tesla Model S Sales Figures". Good Car Bad Car. January 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-07. 
  27. Klippenstein, Matthew (February 2016). "Canadian Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2016-02-07. Tesla Model S sales figures from IHS data.
  28. Klippenstein, Matthew (2016-01-20). "Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, December 2015: Tesla Model S-Capades". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2016-06-19.  Estimated sales for Ford Energi models. Tesla Model S, Smart ED and the other figures with yellow background from IHS data.
  29. Bubbers, Matt (2016-04-06). "Current green cars with biggest rebates as governments sweeten deals". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  30. Millikin, Mike (2016-03-18). "Renault Twizy 40 arrives in Canada". Green Car Congress. Retrieved 2016-03-20. 
  31. Stevens, Matthew (2016-02-09). "Electric Vehicle Sales in Canada: 2015 Final Numbers". Retrieved 2016-02-28.  See table "Total Canadian EV fleet" and graph "EVs in Canada by Model"
  32. Klippenstein, Matthew (2016-06-14). "Plug-in Electric Car Sales in Canada, May 2016: Canada crosses 20,000 cars with plugs". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2016-06-14. 
  33. "Chevrolet Volt Sales Figures". Good Car Bad Car. January 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  34. "Electric Vehicle Sales in Canada: Q1 2017". 
  35. "Mitsubishi i MiEV Sales Figures". Good Car Bad Car. January 2015. Retrieved 2016-06-19.  A total of 23 units were sold in 2011, 196 in 2012, 168 in 2013, 109 in 2014, and 121 in 2015.
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