It has been over a decade since the Electric Vehicle
revolution began in North America and worldwide. Things have progressed quickly
for this niche corner of the automotive industry, and major growth is projected
over the next 5 years, yet electric vehicles are not the main buying choice for
the average consumer. We have seen a major shift to electric vehicles in the
province. For example, the Nissan Leaf (2019 Registrations = approx. 4,200)1
and Tesla Model 3 (2019 Registrations = approx. 5,000)1 EV registration
numbers have increase significantly over the past 2 years, and these best
sellers have continued to be a favorite for drivers in the region. 1
ICBC Registrations by vehicle
Even though these vehicles are being sold by the thousands,
this still represents around 10% of new car sales and a little less than 1% of
overall vehicle registrations in the province every year. Small potatoes
compared to the hundreds of thousands of fossil fuel burners that are on the
So what are the issues influencing the rapid adoption of
EV’s in our region? What solutions exist to combat these issues and support EV
sales in Metro Vancouver and more broadly BC? Let us discuss!
There is still a cost different between many electric vehicles and their ICE
counterparts. This is a huge turnoff for many people if it’s taken at face
value and not calculated over the useful lifetime of the vehicle. We drafted a
helpful breakdown of the total cost of ownership of electric vehicles that
provides perspective on how EV’s can save you money over the useful vehicle
life. You can read that post
Many new vehicle buyers are looking to finance or lease
their vehicles at the lowest possible month to month cost, so a pricing
differential of 7-10k in purchase price is a turnoff for many buyers.
Federal, Provincial and Scrap-It Incentives can provide up to $11,000 that
bridge the cost gap between EV’s and their ICE cousins. We wrote a great
summary of all of the incentives currently available in BC and Canada, you can
view that in more detail here.
Over the past decade, SUV’s (specifically compact SUV’s) and trucks have
been dominating sales in North America. The Ford F150 is currently the
best-selling vehicle, period.
Until recently, the Battery Electric Vehicle model range was
limited to hatchbacks, sedans and two door vehicles. This was mainly because
the drivetrains are designed for maximum efficiency, the smaller, lighter and
more efficient the vehicle the further you could drive. Plug In Hybrid
drivetrains found a more diverse model range and included some SUV’s.
Unfortunately, these models were typically limited to short battery ranges with
a gasoline motor as backup, not a practical solution if you wanted to end your
addiction to fossil fuel.
In 2020, battery technology has reached the tipping point of size/weight vs
energy density. More vehicle shapes and sizes are coming to market to fit the
model gaps that existed over the last decade. Rivian, Tesla, Ford (and many others)
are coming out with Battery Electric trucks and SUV’s that are perfectly
positioned to meet the consumer demands. Watch this space as we regularly post
updates on new electric vehicles.
Education of Public
and Sales Staff
The automotive world is riddled with false information and myths about
electric vehicles. Many consumers still associate electric vehicles with early
EV’s like the Mitsubishi iMiev or Nissan Leaf Gen 1 which barely got 130kms of
range and had a battery half-life of 6-8 years if you were lucky. That is no
longer an issue.
The reality is that the industry has come so far in terms of
driving range, reliability and overall usability of an electric vehicle. Yet
these misconceptions still exist and come up regularly in our day to day
Furthermore, the automotive sales force is poorly equipped
to setup a new EV owner with all the information they need to charge and
maintain their vehicle. The rush to close the sale without having a fully
comprehensive conversation about how the new EV fits into the owner’s lifestyle
sometimes creates issues down the road.
The Province of BC has invested heavily into electric vehicle education and
outreach programs to educate the general public and dealership staff about the
electric vehicles. Programs like CEV for BC and Emotive are connecting with
tens of thousands of people to explain the benefits of electric vehicles. Sales
staff are undergoing training through the CEV program, so they can prepare
customers with all the information they need to have a positive driving
EV peer networks like the Vancouver Electric Vehicle
Association and the Tesla Owners Club of BC hold regular monthly meetings and
education sessions to help EV owners navigate ownerships issues or simply to
provide introductions their new vehicles.
Almost 50% of Metro Vancouver residents live in Multi Unit Residential Buildings(MURBs)
such as condos or townhouses. This is proving to be a significant barrier to
charging electric vehicles in our region. Local municipalities like the City of
Vancouver, City of Richmond and the City of Burnaby (among others) have
developed bylaws to ensure that all new MURB builds are equipped with EV
charging and also have the electrical capacity to handle up to 100% of parking
stalls being electrified. The problem lies with older buildings that have to
undergo extensive and sometimes costly retrofits.
Install EV charging as an expense to all the building owners
is a contentious subject that typically requires a vote of owners to get
approval for the installation. This results in in EV charging installations
being quite complicated and costly in some cases.
BC has been actively working on bolstering the public DC Fast Charging network.
We now have an extensive regional network of fast chargers positioned to take
the pressure of the need for MURB charging and to support the adoption of EVs in
our region. See the Plug-Share map below for some perspective on the regional
In order to soften the blow of a costly EV charging
retrofit, The Province of BC and National Resources Canada has provided
incredible incentives for EV charging installations in MURBS and public places.
As you may know, Cielo Electric specializes in EV Charging
installations in Multi Unit Residences. We have worked with hundreds of Strata
Corporations, Property Management Companies and Property developers to create
the best solutions for residents throughout the Lower Mainland.
If you are interested in installing EV charging
infrastructure in in your Multi Unit Residential Building, workplace or single
family home, call Cielo Electric for a fully comprehensive site assessment. Ph:
778-862-4109 or visit www.cieloelectric.ca for more information.