National Post - Financial Post Magazine


Electric vehicle sales are doubling

- Ports Consumer Re- John Shmuel

Electric vehicles sure get a lot of flack for being a nascent industry that more than doubled its sales last year. Some of the criticism is certainly valid. For one thing, electric vehicles are still reliant on subsidies: a federal one offers while the average subsidy in Norway is

per vehicle. But this is a fledgling industry, and even industries that have been around since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution — such as rail and energy — still get subsidies from government­s around the world, including ones in Canada.

Another argument is that electric vehicles have limited range compared to their gasoline counterpar­ts. Fair point. Electric vehicles aren’t for everyone (though that may change in the future with ongoing research and developmen­t), but a recent study found they may be good enough for a large chunk of the global population. A

survey from December found that fully electric cars or plug-in hybrids would be sufficient for of the population — or roughly million households.

Of course, one of the biggest factors stopping the widespread adoption of electric vehicles is the upfront cost despite the handsome subsidies. Two of the most affordable all-electric cars available in Canada — the Smart Fortwo and the Nissan Leaf — start at and

respective­ly (before rebates). But even that is changing. A Frost & Sullivan study found that the price of the most popular electric vehicles has come down by this year from The study predicts prices will continue trending downward as sales continue to keep growing. The Internatio­nal Energy Agency points out that global sales of electric vehicles more than doubled to in from in And a Pike Research report predicts sales of electric vehicles could reach million annually by

That kind of mass production will go a long way toward driving down costs. It’s easy to see that when cost — the biggest obstacle to electric vehicle sales — is eliminated, adoption will accelerate even faster.

Don’t write off the electric car just yet. —

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