New Canadian EV sales figures from Statistics Canada show strong recovery in Q3 2020, following sharp lockdown dip
Feb 11, 2021
Luke Sarabia

When combined with published private research data for Q4, figures point to a modest drop in full-year 2020 Canadian EV sales

When combined with published private research data for Q4, figures point to a modest drop in full-year 2020 Canadian EV sales

Zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales saw significant gains in the third quarter of 2020, with 18,771 new vehicles registered across Canada between July and September, according to data just made available by Statistics Canada. That number, which is more than twice the 9,069 vehicles sold in the previous quarter, consists of 67.1 per cent battery electric vehicles and 32.9 per cent plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Given the fact that much of the country was locked down for the majority of the second quarter of last year, that leap in sales following the easing of restrictions is less than surprising. However, that figure also represents sizeable growth from the first quarter of 2020, which saw 11,998 sales through a period mostly unaffected by COVID-19.

While StatsCan has yet to release fourth-quarter sales, the private market research firm IHS Markit recently reported that Canadian ZEV sales in that period were up 9 per cent versus 2019. If correct, that would equal roughly 13,337 vehicles, and would bring the full-year total to 53,175 — roughly 4.4 per cent less than the 55,629 ZEVs sold in 2019. (StatsCan defines ZEVs as fully battery electric vehicles and also plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.)

Market share improves

The 18,771 sales total in Q3 represents a 3.7 per cent market share of all vehicles purchased in the quarter, which is up from the 3.3 per cent seen in the previous quarter and the 3.5 per cent during the same period in 2019. However, that number still sits slightly lower than the 3.9 per cent market share ZEVs held in Q1 2020.

Regionally, the vast majority of ZEV sales (92.9 per cent) in Q3 2020 came from just three provinces: British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario.

British Columbia had the largest ZEV market share at 8.4 per cent, followed by Quebec with 6.7 and Ontario with 2 per cent. B.C. also had the highest percentage of battery electric vehicles relative to total ZEVs sold, at 78.3 per cent. That number in both Quebec and Ontario was about 65 per cent, with plug-in hybrids consisting of roughly 35 per cent of new ZEVs sold.

At the municipal level, Victoria, B.C. wins the award for the highest ZEV proportion of total new vehicle sales, at 12.9 per cent, followed closely by Vancouver with 10.9 per cent. ZEV market shares within Montreal and Quebec City were 7.8 and 5.1 per cent respectively, and Ottawa and Toronto at 2.6 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.

Statistics Canada Q3 2020 EV sales data
Infographic Source: Statistics Canada
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