Research and Consulting

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Research and Consulting

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Research and Consulting

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Research and Consulting

BC’s EV adoption targets – achievable or a pipe dream?

The BC government has announced EV adoption targets:

  • 10% of motor vehicle sales by 2025
  • 30% by 2030
  • 100% by 2040.

This is great news for emissions.

Is the pace achievable? Or a pipe dream?

In 2018, EVs made up about 3.5% of new motor vehicle sales in BC. This includes passenger cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs.

It’s hard to know what will happen by 2030, let alone 2040. A lot can change in 12 or 22 years. But 2025 is pretty close. So how do current trends compare to that target date?

EV sales have been increasing rapidly each year. Over the last five years, the EV percentage of overall sales has increased by an average of 67% per year. The slowest year-over-year growth was 25%, in 2013-2014.

If the average growth rate of 67% continued, EV sales in:

  • 2019 would be 5.8%
  • 2020 would be 9.7%
  • 2021 would be 16.2%.

So that would mean achieving the 2025 target by early 2021 – four years early.

Even if growth were at the slowest annual rate of the last five years – 25% per year – the 2025 target would be reached by 2023.

A lot of things could change that year-over-year growth rate. However, probably the biggest influence on purchases is price, and auto manufacturers and others project that EV costs will be coming down in the next few years.

This makes sense, as batteries continue to improve and get cheaper, and economies of scale in EV manufacturing rise. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects EV sales to increase ten-fold globally by 2025 compared to last year. That translates into economies of scale.

The other change we might expect in the next few years is that more and more consumers will come to understand that their all-in annual vehicle costs are lower with an EV-drive system. This includes initial purchase price (annual depreciation), fuel insurance, repairs, etc.

What does all this suggest about BC’s 2030 and 2040 targets? They are probably achievable. Several countries and many sub-national jurisdictions have said they will ban gas and diesel vehicles by 2040 or sooner. This will provide incentive for manufacturers to rapidly scale EV production.

The real question is whether this is soon enough for the climate.

EV sales data: Matthew Klippenstein, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dLFJwZVdvNLRpmZqPznlzz6PB9eHMe5b-bai_ddRsNg/edit#gid=25