As interest in electric cars grows, experts say they haven't quite made it into the mainstream |  CBC Radio

As interest in electric cars grows, experts say they haven’t quite made it into the mainstream | CBC Radio

When he told his friend Seymore Applebaum about the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, he was intrigued.

Applebaum, who lives north of Toronto, was looking for a new car. While safety features have been our top priority, the high cost of petrol cannot be ignored.

So in January, he replaced his car with an all-new Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV), a car that can run on both electricity and gasoline. Applebaum says he can travel nearly 50 kilometers using battery power alone — more than enough to get around town.

On his recent trip downtown, he recalls, “I’ve been driving 45 kilometers…and the only thing I’ve used is the electric motor and the electric battery that powers the car.”

Usually, on a day like this, [it] It’s comparable to $10 and $15 driving costs.”

Auto industry analysts say rising gas prices are driving more consumers to buy electric and electric vehicles.

Analysts say interest in electric cars is growing with rising gas prices. But greater variety in models and price points is needed in the Canadian auto market. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Pump prices have risen across Canada in recent weeks. It is estimated that Vancouver could see the highest prices in the country this weekend, which could be as high as $2.34 per liter for regular fuel. According to fuel price tracker GasBuddy, the national average as of Sunday afternoon was just under $1.98 per liter.

“Canadians are driven by higher fuel prices, but they really think this is the new normal,” said Peter Hatgis, national automotive sector leader for KPMG Canada. Pointing to a recent survey by the advisory group.

“When consumers believe it or perceive it to be true, they will adjust their behavior around the type of vehicles they buy.”

Kevin Roberts, Director of Industry Insights and Analytics for US-based online car market CarGurus, said, cross-country examination It has seen a similar trend.

“With the rise in gas prices, the interest in electric cars has risen almost exponentially with only a two-day delay for both new and used cars,” he said.

But even as interest in electrified cars has risen, experts say a lack of options — and extremely high prices — mean they haven’t quite hit the mainstream.

Where consumers in North America prefer larger vehicles such as SUVs and vans known for their utility, electric vehicles tend to come in compact or sedan models. Hatgis said EV range — and the availability of chargers — is also a consideration for many Canadians.

Gas prices have risen across the country in recent weeks. According to fuel price tracker GasBuddy, the national average price for regular gasoline was just under $1.98 per liter as of Sunday afternoon. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

intensification of production

However, significant investments in electrification by major automakers are beginning to pay off.

Analysts say a variety of models and sizes will come to market in the coming years. Battery life is also improving, as many models can travel more than 400 kilometers on a charge, according to the manufacturer’s estimates.

“It’s definitely a turning point,” said Hatgis. “I think there are a combination of factors that suggest an alternative to the internal combustion engine.”

The biggest test for consumers will be whether manufacturers can lower prices enough to lure customers into the showroom — and electric vehicles are on the road — said Greg Mordo, associate professor and ArcelorMittal chair in advanced manufacturing policy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Watch | Questions about electric vehicles answered:

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While a few models start at under $50,000, many run north of that number with some selling over $100,000.

The perfect place for Canadian buyers? Between $35,000 and $45,000, Mordo says. The key to reaching this price point, he added, is mass production.

“We need to produce cars in North America at that level, and we need big-size cars — not a few, specialty vehicles where they sell 10,000 or 15,000 of them a year — because that’s a lot of the vehicles we have now, Tesla though,” Mordo said. check up.

In April, General Motors announced a $2 billion investment, with Supported by the Government of Ontario and the Federal Governmentwhich will see electric cars roll off assembly lines in Oshawa and Ingersoll, Ontario, early this year.

Similarly, Stylantis owns brands such as Dodge and Jeep Investing billions in electricity Its plants are in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario.

Suppliers caution, however, that as factories begin producing electric models, it will take time to reach the current output of gas-powered vehicles.

Availability of charging stations and EV model range is a top priority for Canadian drivers. (Doug Ives/The Canadian Press)

Focus on fuel efficiency

While interest in electric vehicles may be on the rise, Hatges anticipates a shift in gas-powered vehicles as well.

“I think you’ll see the quest to make cars lighter, more fuel efficient, even when it comes to electricity,” he said. “Heavy vehicles use more energy to power themselves on the road, whether it’s electricity or fuel.”

As long as gas prices remain high, the market could see a shift from SUVs and trucks – which consumers and manufacturers have preferred in recent years – to gas-sipping models.

“We have a fascination with pickups and SUVs, as North Americans do, and there are a lot of them on the road now…I don’t see that changing any time soon,” he said.

“But in the medium or near term, are you going to see a transformation or reconsideration of cars that are more fuel efficient? I think so. The price at the pump is very, very important.”

Applebaum touted the flexibility of plug-in hybrids, saying he doesn’t worry about range at all. And while his PHEV costs more than a comparable non-electrified model, trading in his previous vehicle combined with three to four years of fuel savings made it affordable, he said. saying.

With gas prices now higher than they were in January, he said, “that’s much healthier.” check up.

Now, friends say pay attention.

“They say the next car they buy will be an electric car.”

Written by Jason Vermes with files from Abby Pliner.

2022-05-15 19:51:56

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