To capture the masses, you have to address their wallets.
Our planet is dying. That is a simple fact that the majority of scientists and experts can agree on, but the problem is that no one seems to care. The recently published World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Standards report for 2021 shows that not a single country surveyed made a good impression, and many reported even worse air quality than before. Canada managed to post above-average air quality scores last year, but its harmful emissions rose from 2015 to 2019, and now it is looking to cut transportation emissions by going big on EVs. On home soil, we've seen manufacturers like GM pour millions into climate change action, but the US still isn't ready to fully commit to zero-emissions cars. Canada, on the other hand, is saying enough is enough and plans to only sell zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) by 2035.
The Canadian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is getting serious about reducing transport emissions over the next decade and plans to enact a sales mandate that will push for 20% of all new vehicle sales to be ZEVs by 2026. The Canadian government hopes that this market share will grow to 60% by 2030, and that all new vehicle sales will be emission-free by 2035.
Medium-and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDV) will also be forced to go green, but not to the extent of light-duty vehicles; Canada wants 35% of MHDV sales to be fully green by 2030. In order to get people on board with the big shift, the Canadian government will offer extensive rebates on ZEV vehicles and is expanding its EV rebate program by $1.36 billion US. Affordable low-end cars like the Nissan Leaf, all the way through to high-end versions of the new Ford F-150 Lighting and Chevrolet Silverado EV will qualify.
As part of the big ZEV push, the Canadian government will also invest a further $400 million into its national charging network. Some are still skeptical of the plan: David Adams, CEO of the Global Automakers of Canada believes that Canadian authorities need to give more clarity on certain topics.
"The automotive industry is fully committed to decarbonizing its products," said the CEO, but the plan still needs work and more details. "The Minister's report lacks clarity around already announced commitments for ZEV purchase incentives and charging infrastructure," continued Adams. "We need some assurance that the consumer is going to join us on this ride, and at this point, that is not entirely clear."
Trudeau has been promising a carbon-capture tax credit by 2022, but it is yet to arrive. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has set a target of reducing emissions by 40% to below 2005 levels by 2030, but experts have warned that the costs will be gigantic. The Royal Bank of Canada reported last year that it could cost over $1.6 trillion US to get Canada to a net zero emission state. Canada produced 730 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. That's the equivalent of manufacturing about five GMC Hummer EVs, but we have to give our northerly neighbors credit for committing to some form of environmental care. The alternative is, quite literally, the end of the world.