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September 12, 2018

A variety of surveys in various jurisdictions have shown there are a number of valid reasons that consumers are still reluctant to buy EVs. As the Association representing new car dealers across the province, the New Car Dealers Association of BC (NCDA) conducted independent research during the month of August involving 500 drivers, province-wide – to get a snapshot of opinions on the issue of EVs and factors may motivate or hinder greater adoption of clean energy vehicles.

The findings include the following:

  • Most British Columbians (57%) drive their own vehicle “five to seven times a week”, while 17% drive their own vehicle “three or four times a week”.
  • Only 12% of British Columbians drive their own vehicle “once or twice a week”, and 14% say they never drive their own vehicle.
  • Almost three-in-ten drivers (28%) have a vehicle that is older than 2008, while 36% have a vehicle from 2008 to 2013.
  • More than a third of drivers (37%) have a vehicle from 2014 to 2018.
  • Half of drivers (50%) report a commute of “less than 20 minutes”, while one third (34%) say their commute lasts “21 to 40 minutes.”
  • Only 5% of drivers have commutes that are longer than 60 minutes.
  • Almost three-in-five drivers (57%) never use public transit or a bike to get to school or other activities.
  • One-in-five (22%) rely on something other than their vehicle “once or twice a week”, including 29% of those in Metro Vancouver.
  • 6% of drivers report that their primary vehicle is electric, a proportion that jumps to 15% among those aged 18-to-34
  • Three-in-ten drivers (29%) have ridden as a passenger in an electric vehicle (EV), and 12% have test driven an electric vehicle (EV).

  • More than three-in-five drivers (63%) say they have “definitely” (27%) or “probably” (36%) thought about purchasing an electric vehicle.
  • More than nine-in-ten drivers of electric vehicles (92%) are satisfied with their choice (recognizing the small sample size – 9% of 500 individuals who responded to survey questions).
  • Two-in-five drivers (40%) are “definitely” or “probably” considering purchasing a new vehicle in the next 12 months.

  • Price (39%) is the most important consideration, followed by fuel consumption (20%), reliability (also 20%), safety (8%), comfort (5%) and the environment (also 5%).
  • At least two-in-five drivers say there are four significant barriers to purchasing an electric vehicle: Not having enough places to charge the vehicle in the areas where they usually drive (46%), too expensive compared to nonelectric vehicles (44%), fear of becoming stranded if you can’t find a charging station (42%) and not having a place to charge the vehicle where they currently live (such as a strata) (41%).
  • Most British Columbians (56%) are aware of the electric vehicle purchase incentives, but more than two-in-five (44%) are not.
  • Women (53%), those aged 18-to-34 (50%) and those in Northern BC (60%) are more likely to be unaware of the incentives.
  • Seven-in-ten drivers (70%) say they “definitely” or “probably” would be more likely to purchase an EV after learning of the “Clean Energy Vehicles for British Columbia” program—a point of sale Incentive program with a potential rebate of up to $5,000.
  • Three-in-five drivers (62%) say they “definitely” or “probably” would be more likely to purchase an EV after learning of the BC SCRAP-IT Electric Vehicle Program— which provides financial incentive for early retirement of old vehicles that are replaced with lower emitting options, with a potential Rebate of up to $6,000

The results of our survey, while not definitive, certainly underline there are a number of factors that may influence new car buying – including current point of purchase incentive programs.

To that end, the NCDA remains a strong advocate of the current approach that is based on incentives and education – and will be reaffirming that position with the provincial government because further adoption of clean energy vehicles is good for the economy, the environment and current and future British Columbians. We will continue to push back on any efforts to implement a ZEV mandate to force OEMs to achieve arbitrary sales targets in the province.

Dealer Members with New Car Dealers Association

We represent more than 390 New Car Dealers throughout British Columbia.