Globally, consumers seem to be doing what Canadians were found to be doing earlier this year — embracing the technology but opting for a hybrid option rather than full electric, according to the Mobility Consumer Index from business advisory firm EY.
When asked what fuel type between fully electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid they prefer, 55.1 per cent of consumers around the world chose at least one of these options. That’s up from 51.6 per cent in 2022.
But interest in battery alone has tempered. According to the index, interest mainly was flat year over year, going from 20.2 per cent in 2022 to 20.4 per cent. This followed a more than eight-point jump from 2021.
Interest in hybrids has always exceeded battery electric and that remains the case as 22.6 per cent of respondents said a hybrid was their preference, up from 21.3 last year.
Plug-in hybrids grew the most, going from 10 per cent in 2022 to 12.2 per cent in 2023.
EY Canada noted that drivers here are showing more interest in an electric option compared to last year. More than half (52 per cent) of those planning to buy a car said they’ll choose an EV, up six points from 2022.
However, Canada sits below the global average of 55 per cent but ahead of U.S. (48 per cent).
Regionally, there are differences. Those in Ontario (59 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (58 per cent) showed the most interest in purchasing an EV, while Alberta (40 per cent) and Quebec (43 per cent) expressed the least.
That’s different from last year when BC (54 per cent) and Quebec (51 per cent) were most interested in purchasing an and the Prairies were least (25 per cent).
Why are they interested? Last year, the environment sat atop the list (38 per cent). But in 2023, the higher cost of fuel (49 per cent) is driving motivation to switch. Environmental concerns (40 per cent), increasing penalties on ICE vehicles (24 per cent) and monetary incentives (23 per cent) rounded out the list.
What’s stopping Canadians is the upfront cost to purchase (44 per cent), up 6 points from last year. This year, 75 per cent reported that they would pay a premium and three-quarters said they’re willing to pay up to 30 per cent more than they would for an ICE vehicle.
All that talk about the lack of charging infrastructure seems to be less of an issue. Limited charging infrastructure was a concern for 24 per cent per cent of respondents, a drop from 36 per cent in 2022.
Still, limited range (35 per cent) was the second most noted concern. EY Canada noted two new additions to the list: 24 per cent of respondents noted that they are more comfortable with ICE vehicles and 24 per cent of them cited expensive battery replacement as an inhibitor to purchasing an EV.