electric car being charged

An accelerated sales target, backed by policies that include a ZEV mandate, is crucial to meeting Canada’s emission reduction goals and securing ZEV supply, says Electric Mobility Canada president Daniel Breton

Electric Mobility Canada, a national membership-based not-for-profit dedicated to the advancement of electric mobility, voted today in its annual general meeting to adopt a motion to advocate for the federal government to set a 100 per cent sales target for zero-emission light-duty vehicles by 2030.

The government’s current targets aim for just 30 per cent zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2030, and don’t reach 100 per cent until 2040.

“If we want to be more ambitious in the fight against climate change, we have to be more ambitious when it comes to ZEV adoption”

Daniel Breton, President and CEO, EMC

The vote, on a motion to “advocate for ZEV supply policies (including a federal ZEV mandate) across Canada that achieve 100% light duty electric vehicle sales targets by 2030,” passed with 92.6 per cent approval. EMC had previously voted in 2019 to advocate for a light-duty ZEV supply mandate, which also passed.

According to Daniel Breton, EMC president and CEO, today’s motion was in part a reaction to the announcement this spring that Canada and the United States would adopt new, more ambitious climate targets. As part of that agreement Canada pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

“Between 2005 and 2019 in Canada, greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) only decreased by one per cent. Greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles between those years increased by eight per cent,” said Breton. “If we want to be more ambitious in the fight against climate change, we have to be more ambitious when it comes to ZEV adoption.”

Opportunity for ZEV leadership

Canada is not alone in setting 2040 as the date for 100 per cent ZEV sales. Spain, France and Portugal all have the same target. However, a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark have already adopted the more ambitious 2030 target. Norway has committed to 100 per cent ZEV sales by 2025.

Given the concern that auto manufacturers may prioritize sending electric vehicles to areas with ZEV mandates, Breton also cited potential future supply concerns as a reason for Canada to make a more serious federal ZEV commitment.

“In the U.S. right now, there are 15 states that are calling for a more aggressive ZEV mandate and for President Biden to adopt a federal mandate as well,” said Breton. “If we don’t get a federal ZEV mandate most of those vehicles will be sent to the U.S. and we’ll have maybe an even worse supply problem.”

Ultimately, Breton says, a ZEV policy is one of many tools Canada should use to meet its climate targets and not one that we can afford to neglect.

“We see in all jurisdictions that when there is education, infrastructure, rebates and regulation as well, that’s where the market grows. That’s where we have enough supply and we have enough availability of EVs for people to buy,” said Breton.

“Does Canada want to be a leader or a laggard? To me, 2030 is ambitious, but not too ambitious. I think it only makes sense for Canada to say ‘let’s be one of the leaders.’”