A decade ago, the notion of electric vehicle sales becoming a dominant force in the new vehicle market appeared far-fetched – but today EVs have attained a significant share of the marketplace and it’s a foothold that will significantly increase over time.
A number of developments have occurred to fuel EV adoption, not the least of which is that they are now available across nearly all brands and price points – and in the form of cars, SUVs and even soon to launch pick-up trucks.
Furthermore, all levels of government have invested in or created incentives for much-needed fast charging stations along major highway routes, at the community level and at work or home. Over time, consumers have become more environmentally conscious, and as a 2022 State of the American Driver Report survey highlighted in Ward’s Auto recently suggested, at least for the Gen Z population (age 16-24) EVs are now “cool”.
In British Columbia, the Provincial government has ambitious targets for zero-emission vehicle adoption. By 2030, 90% of all new light-duty vehicle sales in the province will be required to be ZEVs (with targets of 26% by 2026 and 100% by 2035). New car dealers continue to play an important role in this effort through an ongoing partnership whereby our members facilitate rebates on the purchase of clean energy vehicles while continuing to educate the public about the latest technology developments, models and associated features.
BC continues to hold a leadership position in sales of electric vehicles. IHS Markit reports in 2021 Q-3, battery plug in sales totalled more than 18,000 year-over-year while plug-in-hybrid electric vehicle sales totalled more than 8,800 during the same period.
Today, more than 60,000 light duty EVs now travel our provincial highway system, placing BC in a leadership position in North America on a per capita basis (over 12% of new vehicle sales are EVs & penetration is highest in Vancouver at 16%).
While the rise of the EV is significant, it’s also important to highlight that newer model gasoline-powered vehicles also play an important role in reductions, as new internal combustion models are much more fuel efficient – and make up the majority of new vehicle sales. Year-end results by Desrosiers Automotive Consultants show the top selling passenger cars in 2021 were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra. With respect to light truck sales, the Ford-F Series, RAM Pickup and Toyota Rav4 occupy the top three positions.
The ongoing semiconductor shortage and supply chain disruptions impacted the ability of many brands to get a full assortment of models to showroom floors in 2021. However, as we enter the initial weeks of 2022, our hope is to see a return to some level of normal for the industry – and to our readers, we wish you nothing but success, happiness and health for the new year.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected]