The Government of Canada’s 2035 electric vehicle mandate is absolutely attainable

The Government of Canada’s 2035 electric vehicle mandate is absolutely attainable

By Daniel Breton
President and CEO
Electric Mobility Canada

A few days ago, Mr. Eric Reguly commented on the federal government’s announcement of a 2035 100% Zero Emission Light Duty Vehicle sales target supported by regulation. According to Mr. Reguly, it would not work for 3 main reasons: purchase price of EVs, environmental concerns, and electricity supply. I’d like to present some important information regarding electric vehicles that demonstrates that the federal government’s 2035 electric vehicle mandate not only attainable, but necessary.

Total Cost of Ownership: No, EVs do not cost twice as much as comparable gas vehicles. While the upfront purchase price is often between 30% to 50% higher,  when we calculate the total cost of owning a vehicle (i.e. monthly payment, fuel/energy cost, maintenance cost, insurance and resale value) EVs make a lot of economic sense, and can end up being less expensive than comparable gas powered vehicles.

Experts from around the globe predict that EVs will be at price parity with gas vehicles between 2024 and 2027 without subsidies. EV battery prices have decreased by 85% per kWh between 2010 and 2019 and is expected to decrease another 40% to 60% between now and 2025, even with an increase of battery material prices. For example, lithium represents only 10% of the price of an EV battery, which means that an increase in the price of lithium won’t make much of a difference.

By mid-decade, GM’s Ultium battery packs are projected to cost 60 percent less than today’s packs with twice the energy density. Last year, Elon Musk announced that new battery processing combined with advanced manufacturing and cleaner mineral mining would make Tesla vehicles not only cleaner, but will reduce the battery price by 56% while range will increase by 54%.

This means that buying a gas vehicle won’t make any economic sense long before 2035.

Greener everywhere in Canada: We agree that there is no such thing as a “Zero Emission Vehicle”. All vehicles do emit GHG and air pollution emissions. The real question is: Do Electric Vehicles emit less GHG and air pollution emissions than comparable gas vehicles? The answer is a definite yes. With 67% of its electricity coming from renewable and 82% coming from non-emitting sources, Canada is one of the countries in the world where the environmental benefits of EVs are the most obvious. In Canada, EVs GHG emissions are between 30% and 75% lower than gas vehicles. According to the National Research Council, even in Alberta where 92% of its electricity comes from coal and gas, the benefits are real, and the good news is that Alberta intends to close all its coal plants by 2023.

A Few Quick Facts:

  • According to 2019 report from the International Energy Agency, Canada’s LDV fleet is the #1 in the world for GHG emissions per kilometer driven;
  • Between 2005 and 2019, Light Duty Vehicle GHG emissions increased by 8% while GHG emissions from electricity decreased by 48%;
  • Canadian companies that specialize in EV batteries can repurpose and recycle 95% of the battery components today. By comparison, the recycling percentage of burnt gas or diesel used to propel internal combustion vehicles is 0%;
  • Utilities are planning right now for massive EV adoption across the country. It is a long-term process that will bring important revenue for Canadian utilities.
  • Air pollution’s cost has been estimated at $120 billion and 15,300 premature deaths by Health Canada’s 2021 report and transport represents a significant percentage of that air pollution. Moving away from gas vehicles, from light to heavy-duty, will end up saving Canadians thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

The right government policy

Recently, the federal government has announced investments in electric transit, electric vehicle infrastructure, electric Light Duty Vehicles and an electric vehicle supply chain. It’s not a question of supporting one over another, but of all modes complementing one another. We do need more electric buses, school buses and trucks. We also need more electric car sharing and carpooling… and we need more telecommuting, but some people will still need an electric car or light truck.

In conclusion, light and heavy-duty EVs are not THE solution but they certainly are a part of the solution to fight climate change and air pollution while creating sustainable high paying Canadian jobs.