The biggest roadblock for EVs

Houston, we have a problem. We know electric vehicles are a better choice than conventional vehicles in all kinds of ways. They produce a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions. They’re way easier to maintain. The fuel savings more than outweigh the higher price tag. Plus, they’re incredibly fun to drive.

©  WWF-Canada/James Carpenter
© WWF-Canada/James Carpenter

But today, there are just over 4,000 electric vehicles in Canada — a fraction of a per cent of the vehicles travelling our roads or parked in our driveways.
Why aren’t Canadians going electric? According to WWF’s new EV Status Update, it isn’t just a lack of charging stations. It isn’t the range of EV options on the market. Upfront costs are a stumbling block, but provincial rebates are making EV prices much more attractive.  Right now, where Canada scores the lowest is awareness. Nearly half of Canadians know nothing about EVs, and only seven per cent have seen an EV, never mind driven one.
The time has come to make some introductions. EVs, meet Canada. Canada, meet one heck of a smart way to get from A to B. For a taste of what’s involved, check out the profiles and videos of EV users at WWF’s Life with My EV page.
However, nothing beats hands-on experience. The problem is where to find it.
Woman charging electric car on street © Nancy Honey/Cultura/Getty Images
Woman charging electric car on street © Nancy Honey/Cultura/Getty Images

A great first step would be to get more EVs on dealership lots. Although all the major auto manufacturers produce EV models, it’s difficult to test drive one outside of big cities. That’s something we expect to change in the coming years.
Let’s not stop there, though. What if more employers added EVs to their corporate fleet, so when you need to head to that client meeting across town, you can book the company’s EV for a couple of hours? Some savvy companies are already starting to do that, like CAA  and the City of Vancouver.
More rental companies could start offering electric options. Want to really get a feel for an EV? Just book one for the weekend and try it out.
If you’re one of the thousands of Canadians who belong to a car-sharing organization like AutoShare in Toronto, Modo in Vancouver, Communauto in Montreal or Community CarShare in Kitchener/Waterloo, you may already have access to an electric vehicle. Why not reserve it for your next trip?
So take a risk. Try an EV. It just might be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.