As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain popularity in Canada, this topic has taken on a heightened focus throughout the auto industry. In February, CarGurus surveyed 495 automobile owners in Canada to get a pulse on their sentiments towards EVs. Overall, 32% of respondents noted that they were probably or definitely likely to own an EV in the next five years — a number on par with US consumers (30%) but that lags behind UK consumers (44%). And while Tesla is the trusted leader in tech development, consumers are increasingly open to other brands when it comes time to go electric.
In this emerging space, buyers are excited by the possibilities and less brand loyal, so there are opportunities for more competitors to disrupt the market. For dealers, now is the time to get ahead of the demand curve and start having conversations about electric vehicles with prospective buyers.
Below we’ve highlighted three key dealer takeaways from the study. For a summary of the results, download the CarGurus 2021 Electric Vehicle Report here.
Openness to EVs has quickly risen in Canada
Interest in EVs has grown steadily since 2018 when we first started surveying consumers on the topic. Only 16% of car owners plan to own an EV within the next year. However, that number doubles when looking at those who plan to own one within the next five years. When it comes to acquiring an EV, though most shoppers would prefer to buy new, nearly a quarter would consider buying used (20%) or manufacturer-approved used (20%).
Ownership logistics and accessibility are the leading barriers to adoption
The leading barrier to adoption among car owners is the accessibility of charging stations, followed closely by tax incentives/rebates and long-term savings. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say that making more charging stations widely available would be the most effective way to convince them to buy an EV, while tax incentives/rebates and long-term fuel and maintenance savings are a close second with 60% citing these factors for encouraging adoption.
Consumers are open to a variety of brands when it comes time to buy
In previous years in the US, Tesla has earned top status as the most trusted company to make electric vehicles and that trend held true in Canada with 33% of respondents putting their faith in the company to develop EVs. However, their leading status is vulnerable with 80% of those planning to buy EVs agreeing they’re open to several brands. Tesla also has the upper hand when looking at those shoppers that plan on owning an electric vehicle in the next 10 years. 53% percent are likely to consider purchasing from Tesla, with Toyota (40%), Honda (25%), and Ford (25%) following as the next most popular options.
For dealers, one thing is clear: embracing EVs in the coming months and years will be crucial to both addressing long-term demand and catering to changing shopper preferences. For more takeaways, view the full report here.