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Poll: Less than half of Canadians would buy an electric car

FILE: An electric vehicle charging sign is pictured in Squamish, B.C., Tuesday, June, 1, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

Cost is the major reason why many Canadians won't buy hybrid or electric vehicles

Younger people are more likely to be interested in electric vehicles, but they aren't buying cars

Canadians surveyed would support the government intervening to make electric vehicles cheaper

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A new poll from Angus Reid suggests Canadians aren’t embracing hybrid and electric vehicles.

Respondents gave several reasons they’re shying away from the eco-friendly vehicles, but one answer kept coming up: price.

“While people do cite fuel efficiency as a big motivator in choosing to buy a vehcile or not buy a specific vehicle, it’s still price that trumps it,” said Shachi Kurl, Executive Director of the Angus-Reid Institute.

In the survey, 75 per cent agreed with the statement “I’m less inclined to buy an electric vehicle because they’re too expensive.” Only 42 per cent of Canadians said they would consider buying a Hybrid vehicle, while just 32 per cent are interested in an electric one.

Reliabilty also factored into whether or not they would choose an electric vehicle.

“If you’re living High River Alberta, for all the ideals around wanting to reduce carbon emissions, people are still going to focus on a car when they are waking up to minus 30, that they believe or percieve will start in the dead cold of winter,” Kurl said.

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Younger Canadians could change that. Kurl says they are more likely to think about choosing vehicles that are efficient and reduces carbon emissions, but the numbers still don’t add up.

“Younger people are far less likely to actually own a vehicle. They are more likely to be subscribing to car share or simply not owning a vehicle all together,” she said. “As we approach the generation that finds it less necessary to own a car, the argument for buying a hybrid/electric car becomes more difficult.”

Although those surveyed seemed less likely to buy an electric car, just over half of Canadians surveyed (56 per cent) said the government should do more to encourage people to buy them, rather than leaving the price and popularity of the vehicles to compete in the free market.

However, the number of electric cars sold in the first quarter of this year was at an all time high, at 1.5 per cent of all cars sold in Canada.

Most respondents also said they would be more likely to buy an electric vehicle if more public charging stations were available.