Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault wants to put a mandate in place by early 2023 that would require auto dealers to meet increasingly higher annual goals for selling zero-emission vehicles. In a plan critics say is impractical, the federal government aims to have half of all new passenger cars sold in Canada be zero-emission by 2030, and to achieve 100 percent by 2035.
Roughly 3 or 4 percent of new cars sold in Canada are zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), commonly called electric vehicles (EVs), Guilbeault recently told The Canadian Press, noting that he wants to mandate increases to those percentages in order to cut carbon emissions and to push Canada to develop such vehicles for the global market. Federal consultations are ongoing to determine how the mandate should work.
Ian Lee, professor of business at Carleton University, believes the policy “to force people to buy electric cars” will have unintended consequences such as a greater aftermarket in automobile parts to make old gasoline vehicles last longer. He says it’s also likely that a mandate would push many Canadians to import gas vehicles from the United States.
“You only become successful because you build a better product, because you’re providing more value. That’s the only way we will succeed, and it’s not because you’re forcing Canadians,” Lee said in an interview.
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