If I had an electric tank


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

“Electric vehicle manufacturers ship their cars with priority to where regulations require them to be sold,” writes our editorialist.

Felipe Mercury

Felipe Mercury
The press

Anglophones call this a “self-fulfilling prophecy” – a prediction that, by the simple fact of being stated and repeated, ends up coming true.

Posted at 5 am.

This is what is happening in Quebec with electric cars. We hear everywhere that it is impossible to force dealers to sell these vehicles because there is a shortage of them in the market.

Result: Due to a lack of strict regulations here, manufacturers are sending their electric cars elsewhere. And Quebecers who want to do their bit for the environment are faced with empty showrooms and long waiting lists.

Parti Québécois (PQ) has the merit of shaking our chips by promising to force dealers to sell 50% of electric cars by 2025 (its market share currently stands at 12%). This is exactly the right way to break the vicious circle we’re in.

We are impatiently waiting to see what the other parties have to offer in this regard. Unfortunately, the CAQ failed to tighten standards on zero-emission vehicles. His latest plan was so ineffective that the Department of the Environment itself concluded that it will not put a single electric car on our roads again until… 2028.

Québec solidaire reserves its ads for the presentation of its green plan next Sunday. The Liberal platform promises to improve the subsidy program for the purchase of electric vehicles, but currently has no obligation to manufacturers. What’s the point of stimulating demand even more if supply doesn’t keep up?

The Feast of Apologies

Those who describe the QP target as unrealistic will have to explain to us why zero-emission vehicles already account for 81% of sales in Norway (the proportion rises to 90% when hybrids are included).

Because, with 23%, China is twice as good as us. Why Germany, California, Sweden, the Netherlands or Iceland proportionally sell more electric cars than Quebec.

Excuses are in sight, but none hold up. We hear, for example, that manufacturers ship their electric models to major markets – forgetting that the world leaders are Norway (5.4 million inhabitants) and Iceland (366 thousand inhabitants).

The reality is, however, clear to anyone who wants to see it: manufacturers send their vehicles primarily where the regulation imposes their sale. An excellent example is British Columbia. Last year, the province set a goal of increasing the market share of zero-emission vehicles to 26% by 2026 and 90% by 2030.

As a result, manufacturers shipped vehicles there and British Columbia dethroned Quebec as the Canadian electric car champion (16% market share versus 12% in the most recent quarter). And that’s even though the discount given by the government is lower there than in Quebec ($4,000 instead of $7,000).

Quebec has promised to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. That’s good, but it’s still a long way off. Builders feel no short-term pressure. That is why it is necessary to have intermediate goals. California, for example, has set a target of 35% by 2026.

“About 15 US states are expected to tighten their regulations. If Quebec is no longer ambitious, we will run out of leftovers,” warns Daniel Breton, President and CEO of Mobility Canada.

Electric cars are not the solution for everything, far from it. But as the transportation sector is our biggest emitter of GHGs, they are an essential element in achieving our environmental goals.

Feeling pushed by the PQ’s target, the CEO of the Quebec Car Dealers Corporation, Robert Poëti, philosophized into Paul Arcand’s microphone that it was necessary to “give time to time”.

On the contrary, we believe it is time to act.

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