Plug-In Electric Cars & Politics In Canada: Taking The Pulse


Sun Country Highway electric-car charging station, Burnaby, BC, Canada [photo: Matthew Klippenstein]

Sun Country Highway electric-car charging station, Burnaby, BC, Canada [photo: Matthew Klippenstein]

Factoring in likely June sales volume from Tesla and others, it's likely that about 2,500 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in Canada in the first half of 2015.

This implies sales are running about level with the roughly 5,000 plug-ins sold in the country last year.

With incentives in British Columbia having returned, the Canadian electric vehicle community will have to turn to other approaches to broaden the market and get those all-important "butts in seats".

DON'T MISS: Plug-in Electric Car Sales In Canada, June 2015: Dial 'S' For Summer

With a federal election coming this fall, advocacy and outreach to political parties and their candidates is one possibility.

This would be an opportune time, as the Liberal Party's Justin Trudeau--one of the three front-runners--recently announced that, if elected, his government would "add electric-vehicle charging facilities at federal parking lots, and will rapidly add electric vehicles to the federal fleet".

(See page 7 of this campaign document for the full pledge.)

Bourgeois Chevrolet, Rawdon, Quebec, Canada [photo: RoulezElectrique.com]

Bourgeois Chevrolet, Rawdon, Quebec, Canada [photo: RoulezElectrique.com]

In proposing this, Trudeau seems to be drawing from the successful example of the provincial government of Quebec.

His Liberal Party is centrist, positioned between the right-leaning Conservative Party (currently in power) and the left-leaning New Democratic Party. So there could be an opportunity for electric-car advocates to pressure the NDP to one-up the Liberals in progressive plug-in policy proposals.

While campaign promises are honored more in the breach than the observance in Canada, as everywhere else, the more politicians with plug-in pledges, the likelier it is that one of them will gain power--and might follow through on them.

Map of Sun Country Highway charging station locations, May 2015

Map of Sun Country Highway charging station locations, May 2015

Along these lines AVEQ, the Quebec Electric Vehicle Association, recently sent a questionnaire to the five principal political parties in Canada asking their policy stances on electric vehicles.

The group also asked electric-car community members to contact their local representatives (and/or challengers) in the lead-up to the fall election. To use the old automotive idiom, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".

In other news, Swedish retailer IKEA announced that all 12 of its Canadian stores would install electric-car charging stations by the end of August.

Blink EV charging point at IKEA store

Blink EV charging point at IKEA store

The company sees the decision as an extension of its sustainability efforts, which as of last year include powering its Canadian operations entirely with renewable energy.

The stations will be installed by Canadian charging-infrastructure provider Sun Country Highway, which--fresh from wrapping its third-annual E-Mazing Race--also informed its mailing list that it would organize an eco-wine tour this fall in British Columbia.

Alas, there's no word yet whether it will be paired with an "eco-fromage" tour in Canada's dairy heartland of Quebec....

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