Quebec raises electric car sales targets

Legault’s government is increasing its sales targets by 2029 and giving it a two-year lead to reach its goal: 1.6 million electric cars on Quebec’s roads in 2030. It’s proposing to toughen up its regulations and align them with those of California to make it happen. More light petrol or diesel vehicles will be sold in the county from 2035.

Quebec Thursday morning issued a strengthened proposal for regulations regarding the province’s sale of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs). Two elements stand out from the new proposal. First, the government wants to move forward from 2029 to 2027 in imposing pricing restrictions on light vehicle manufacturers that would require them to meet a minimum ZEV sales threshold. By forcing the industry to meet its goals two years ago, Quebec calculates that 100,000 more electric vehicles than previously expected will be on the province’s roads in 2029.

“This is good news,” says Daniel Britton, President and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada and former Minister of the Environment PQ. We would have liked to have tougher and faster requirements, but this is a step in the right direction. »

In a best-case scenario and according to government projections, new targets set by Quebec could lead the auto industry to sell electric-only cars or plug-in hybrids as early as 2033, two years earlier than expected. More logically, Quebec expects ZEV’s share of the car market to be over 94% that year. That share should drop to more than 50% somewhere between 2028 and 2029.

Less loans, more electricity

Another key element included in Quebec’s regulatory proposal is the drastic downward revision of the number of credits given to manufacturers for each of the electric vehicles they sell in the province. The government uses this credit formula to encourage achievement of its goals and especially to punish manufacturers who are slowing financially, as they have to back off buying credits held by their competitors to compensate.

The new formula proposed Thursday would give one credit per electric vehicle sold starting in 2027. The current transitional formula gave four credits per electric vehicle.

The value of a plug-in hybrid car ranges from 1.3 to 0.5 credits. In addition, only plug-in hybrid vehicles capable of an electric range greater than 80 kilometers per charge will be eligible. Previously this limit was 50 km per charge.

What this means is that manufacturers who do an all-electric conversion will have an advantage, Daniel Britton calculates. He cites General Motors as an example, which exited the hybrid car market in 2019 and has since been relying on the gradual electrification of its range. Conversely, Toyota, which sells many plug-in hybrids with electric ranges less than 80 km, will have to speed up its transition if it wants to reach the Quebec targets.

“By tightening the ZEV standard, we are clearly signaling to manufacturers that they must integrate the Quebec market more into their business strategies and offer more vehicles and more models to the population over the next few years,” he said in a press release. Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

‘Achievable’ goals

The goals set by Legault’s government are to help manufacturers plan their supply in the province. The production of electric cars is complicated by the epidemic and the scarcity of components. It is generally understood in the auto industry that markets that impose binding sales targets will sooner get a larger share of that production.

In its calculations, Quebec estimates that its new targets will result in a market share of 22-25% of ZEVs as of 2025. This percentage will increase to 65-78% of the market in 2030, which is much higher than Canada. The federal target, and even the US target of 50% of sales that year.

These are nonetheless realistic goals, believes Daniel Britton. In the first quarter of 2022, he said, ZEVs represented 13% of all light vehicle sales in Quebec. “Going up by 2025 is not a big step. It is very achievable.”

Quebec will hold consultations in June and July on its new proposal. The CEO of Electric Mobility Canada expects manufacturers to announce their dissatisfaction. They are particularly concerned that Ottawa will emulate Quebec by setting similar goals, which could then influence Washington in the same direction, which currently does not have a mechanism to force manufacturers to meet its electricity needs.

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