The government of Canada announced the publication of its completed new standard on the availability of electric vehicles, mandating annual increases in the proportion of sales of new zero emissions light duty vehicles, including passenger cars, SUVs, and light trucks, with a target to reach 100% zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035.
The new standard was initially announced in draft form in 2022, following the release earlier in the year of the government’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, outlining its strategy to achieve its interim climate goals to cut GHG emissions by 40% – 45% by 2030. The strategy included plans to introduce ZEV sales mandates for light vehicles, alongside other transport electrification moves including funding for charging stations and infrastructure and for EV incentives.
The new rules aim to address one of the key sources of emissions in Canada, with the transportation sector accounting for around 25% of the country’s GHG footprint, according to the government, and light-duty vehicles representing roughly half of the sector’s emissions.
Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said:
“The establishment of a standard on the availability of electric vehicles materializes a key commitment of our climate plan. Increasing the number of electric vehicles on the roads is another example of steps we are taking to combat climate change, while helping to make the cost of living more affordable.”
The new standard’s targets begin in 2026, with a requirement for at least 20% of new vehicle sales by auto manufacturers and importers to be ZEVs, increasing to 60% by 2030 and reaching 100% by 2035. Government statistics indicate that battery electric and plug-in hybrid sales made up slightly under 8% of new vehicle registrations in the first half of 2022.
The regulation defines ZEVs as battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered fuel cell-vehicles, as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles that meet criteria for their electric-only range.
According to a government statement announcing the completion of the new standard, the regulation aims to help increase the availability of ZEVs for consumers, and forms part of the government plan to support the Canadian auto industry’s battery and automotive supply chain.
The government added that the standard aligns with emerging regulations across North America, particularly the rule announced last year in California requiring all new car, pickup truck and SUV sales in the state to be zero emissions vehicles by 2035, which has been followed with similar standards by 10 other states. Internationally, both the EU and UK have regulations in place targeting ZEV-only new car sales by 2035 as well.