With gas prices in British Columbia continuously hitting new historic highs and changing consumer trends, an increasing number of drivers in the province are giving the switch to electric-battery vehicles more thought.
A new representative provincial sample survey by Research Co. found that 51% of residents who drive their own vehicles are “very likely” or “moderately likely” to buy an electric-battery model for their next vehicle.
The highest proportion of respondents who said they are likely to make the switch were in Metro Vancouver (55%) and Vancouver Island (52%). This was followed by the Fraser Valley (43%), Southern BC (40%), and Northern BC (37%).
Respondents also identified some issues that might make them less likely to acquire an electric-battery vehicle; 24% said they are too expensive compared to conventional vehicles, 24% fear being stranded if they cannot find a changing station, and 23% said they do not have enough places to charge the vehicle in the areas where they usually drive.
Furthermore, over a third of drivers in Southern BC (35%) and Northern BC (45%) said they lack places to charge electric-battery vehicles. In comparison, only 20% in Metro Vancouver had the same concerns.
The survey was conducted just days before the provincial government officially passed legislation that requires all cars to be sold in BC to be zero-emission vehicles by 2040.
Provincial incentives already offer up to $5,000 for the purchase or lease of a new electric-battery vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and the incentives have been so popular that the provincial government had to refresh the program’s funding earlier this month.
The growth in electric vehicles will continue to be exponential over the coming years, based on a market forecast created by Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Energy and Materials Research Group in 2018.
By 2024, SFU researchers estimate annual electric vehicle sales in the Lower Mainland could reach 9,300 to 25,000 units. Electric vehicle sales will have a market share of between 7.1% and 19% and account for 3% to 6.4% of all vehicles being used in the region.
These figures will rise even more sharply by the end of the next decade. By 2030, annual sales will range between 30,000 and 35,000 vehicles, market share will reach between 24% and 27%, and the share of all vehicles will be between 12% and 20%.
Currently, light-duty passenger vehicles account for 31% of Metro Vancouver’s greenhouse gas emissions as they are predominantly fossil fuel powered.