Canadians more likely to buy EVs: Study


A new survey out this week indicates Canadians are more likely to buy an electric vehicle than our neighbours to the south.

Conducted by Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, the study shows that American consumers had a stronger preference for internal combustion engines (61 per cent) compared to Canadians (53 per cent).

Figures also show that Canadian respondents had a stronger preference for electric technologies including plug-in hybrids and pure battery electric vehicles.

“Canadians clearly want greener, more environmentally friendly vehicles,” said Stephen Popiel, senior vice president of Synovate Motoresearch. “We seem to be more driven than Americans on reducing emissions while they are more concerned about fuel costs.”

Canadian respondents were more likely to be looking for ways to reduce their CO2 levels (28 per cent) than American respondents (23 per cent) while American respondents were more likely to be looking for ways to minimize fuel costs (58 per cent of Canadians versus 64 per cent of Americans).

The study is a part of Synovate’s syndicated Alternative Fuels survey. More than 1,800 new car buyers in the U.S. and 800 new car buyers in Canada were asked about current petroleum based power-trains (internal combustion, diesel, flex-fuel, natural gas) and electric power trains (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery and fuel cell).

Unlike their counterparts in the U.S. though, Canadian respondents were not as clear when it came to E85, the blend of 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent gasoline, in the line of questioning.

The Canadians surveyed were much less familiar with E85 – 16 per cent familiarity in Canada compared to 26 per cent in the U.S. – and had a weaker preference for E85 by 10 per cent.

“The U.S. government has done a masterful job at linking E85 with a reduction in foreign oil dependence in the U.S., but this issue is just not as important in Canada,” Popiel said. “It is clear, however, that federal involvement is important in the development of alternative fuel technologies.”