13 June 2023
At the end of April 2023, the Québec government announced a new target of 2 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030, representing 85% of the vehicle fleet. With just under 200,000 EVs currently on the road in Québec, the gap to be filled may seem enormous, but the right conditions seem to be in place to make it happen.
A necessary and plausible increase
The enthusiasm for EVs in Québec is in line with the global trend, as their popularity has continued unabated in recent years. The acceleration of the EV trend has now been described as "explosive" by the International Energy Agency (IEA). According to this organization, EVs in China, Europe and the United States will account for 60% of vehicles by 2030, helping to reduce the world's dependence on oil by 5 million barrels a day.
Québec is even more ambitious since its new target corresponds to 85% of the province's automotive market. We must remember that in its Plan for a Green Economy 2025-2035, the government want to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles in 2035. The 2030 target is therefore a necessary step towards this goal.
The Québec government's statistics do indeed point to the exponential popularity of electric vehicles in Québec. In 2022, around 12% of new individual vehicle registrations were electric, compared with just 0.7% in 2015. As of January 2023, there is a 32% increase in EVs on our roads compared to January 2022.
One of the main barriers to EV ownership for consumers remains the purchase price, although subsidies of up to $12,000 are available from both the provincial and federal governments. Based on its analyses, the IEA concludes that the price of small and medium-sized electric cars will normally fall substantially around 2025, to get closer to that of gasoline-powered cars. We must not forget that other forecasts of this kind have failed to materialize in the past.
A wide range of transportation options
Clearly, the Québec government is still far from reaching its new target by 2030. However, a movement is underway that has the potential to turn things around. If this movement is accompanied by concrete efforts to promote and facilitate active transportation (cycling, walking) and investments in public transit, we can safely assume that by the turn of the next decade, not only will there be fewer cars on the road, but the vast majority of them will be electric.