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Many Canadians not on board with buying an electric vehicle as their next car


It was a tale of two schools of thought in a Cambridge parking lot on Thursday.

On one end was a parked 2022 Ford Lariat, powered by gas. On the other, the electric 2023 Ford Lightning Lariat. Both drivers had quite different opinions on the federal government’s electric vehicle push.

“Gas is the only way to go,” said James Kennedy, as he got into his gas-powered truck.

“A lot of people say electric vehicles are too expensive. I say they need to do the math,” said Harold, the owner of the electric truck.

But it seems more and more Canadians are starting to side with Kennedy. A new AutoTrader survey shows in 2022, 68 per cent of people were interested in buying an electric vehicle. In 2023, interest dropped to 56 per cent and it dropped again this year to 46 per cent.

“Consumers are a bit hesitant and vehicle purchasing costs are top of mind for obvious reasons,” said Baris Akyurek, vice president of marketing intelligence at AutoTrader.

Upkeep can also be costly.

“You have to go get a second mortgage to buy a battery. How are people going to afford to eat?” said Kennedy.

However, others see savings.

“This thing costs me about $3 to go 100 kilometres,” said Harold, referring to his electric truck.

The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA) represents Ford, General Motors and Stellantis and feels a lack of charging stations throughout Canada is hurting electric vehicle sales.

“We are seeing a slowdown in interest for Canadian consumers and that is largely due to the charging infrastructure and a price gap between a gas-powered vehicles and electric vehicles," said Brian Kingston, president and CEO of CVMA.

Kennedy agreed that the length of time it takes to charge a vehicle is holding him back, along with the amount of charging stations.

In AutoTrader’s survey, of those interested in buying an electric vehicle, 62 per cent would consider a hybrid model.

People like Harold are already sold on the electric future, but for drivers like Kennedy, he doesn’t see himself hopping behind the wheel of an EV.

“If I’m around long enough to have another vehicle, I don’t know, I’m hoping they fly by then. I’ll take one of them.”

With files from CTV Toronto Top Stories

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