Canadian consumer attitudes towards electric vehicles is evolving, says Mark Ferguson

Dr. Mark Ferguson speaking from podium

Dr. Mark Ferguson

Dr. Mark Ferguson, Senior Research Associate at the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics (MITL), gave a talk entitled “The Evolution of Canadian Consumer Attitudes on Electric Vehicles 2015-2018” for the UT-ITE seminar series on November 16, 2018.

Adoption of electric vehicles is gaining traction in Canada. However, Canada is still behind most developed countries in electric vehicles adoption.

MITL is currently working on a five-year research project entitled “On social costs and benefits of electric mobility in Canada.” As part of the research project, MITL carried out national scale surveys on attitudes of Canadian consumers toward electric vehicles in 2015 and in 2018. Comparing the two survey results helps us to discover the evolution of Canadian consumer attitudes on electric vehicles. The surveys consisted of a series of questionnaires to collect respondent perception in various areas, such as

  • barriers to electric vehicles adoption
  • cash incentives for electric vehicles (Ontario is providing the most generous cash incentives for EV adoption in Canada), and
  • urgency to adopt electric vehicles.

The surveys also collected data about respondents’ choices regarding vehicle power train options. Four types of powertrains were considered: Gasoline Vehicle (GV), Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), and Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).

The surveys revealed some interesting facts about the attitude of Canadians regarding adoption of EVs. The majority of Canadian are open to EVs; the younger cohort of the population are the most open. The surveys also showed attitude shifts in all groups of respondents, with significant shifts in younger urban dwellers compares to other groups.

Mark expressed that the many of key barriers to EV adoption are perceived as more significant hurdles in outlying areas, with older segments of the population, and in lagging non-incentive regions. He also mentioned that EV owners want larger, faster, multi-port charging facilities that are not so close to their home.

Comparison of the two surveys showed that the link between vehicle purchase and the environment is being recognized more. However, respondents did not indicate much more social pressure towards EV adoption.

These are just a few points regarding Mark Ferguson’s presentation on adoption of EVs in Canada. For more information please see his presentation slides or watch the video of his presentation.