Ontario’s focus on electric cars a challenge for auto industry – by Cameron French (Yahoo.com – May 19, 2016)


Insight – Ontario is hitting the gas pedal on adoption of the electric car, but in order to meet the government’s aggressive goals, consumers and industry will have to accept some big changes, according to experts.

The provincial government’s $7 billion climate-change strategy, leaked this week in The Globe and Mail, lays out $285 million in electric vehicle (EV) incentives, including up to $14,000 on each car purchased, as well as cheap power and a pledge to build charging stations. The goal is to have 12 per cent of all vehicle sales to be electric by 2025, compared to the current levels of a fraction of one per cent.

But don’t expect to be fighting lineups down at the Tesla dealership just yet, say analysts. “Believe me, I would love to see more electric cars as much as everyone else, but 5 per cent by 2020 and 12 per cent by 2025… I think it’s a tad unrealistic,” says Kumar Saha, aftermarket research manager at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

Predictably, environmentalists are largely praising the move, while the traditional auto industry is raising concerns that offering incentives to avoid gas cars built in the province weakens an already shaky sector.

“We’ve got to keep what we have here,” Mark Nantais, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ association, told the Toronto Star.

While $14,000 a car could help reduce the sticker shock attached to pricier electric cars, the challenge of adopting the technology widely go beyond that, says Joe McCabe, president of AutoForecast Solutions.

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