Market Snapshot: Electric vehicle projection shows changes in electricity and fuel demand

Release date: 2019-03-27

Change in the transportation sector is one of the biggest uncertainties in projecting future energy demand. Analysis in Canada’s Energy Future 2018: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040 (EF2018) includes a Reference Case which is based on existing policy and technology, and a Technology Case that considers how a global shift towards a low-carbon economy could impact Canadian energy supply and demand.

Projected electric vehicle sales and electricity use in the transportation sector in Canada (Reference Case vs. Technology Case)

Source and Description

Source: Canada’s Energy Future 2018

Description: The upper line graph shows the combined share of battery electric and plug in hybrid electric vehicles as part of total new vehicle sales. In the Reference Case, the share of electric vehicles goes from approximately 1% in 2017 to 16% in 2040. In the Technology Case, the share goes from approximately 1% in 2017 to 64% in 2040. The lower graph shows the increase in electricity use in the transportation sector in the Technology Case compared to Reference Case. Electricity use increases 118 PJ. Gasoline and diesel use drop 359 PJ and 92 PJ respectively.

The largest impact in end-use energy demand in the Technology Case comes from changes in the transportation sector. In the Technology Case, three key shifts affect passenger transportation fuel use: increasing vehicle fuel economy standards, increasing renewable fuel content (up to 15%) in gasoline and diesel, and, most significantly, an increasing share of battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

In particular, the Technology Case aggressively ramps up the percentage of BEV/PHEV in new vehicle sales. The share increases from around 1% in 2017 to 64% by 2040. This compares to a modest increase to 16% by 2040 in the Reference Case. In the Reference Case, the increase in BEV/PHEVs add approximately 40 PJ (11 TW.h) of additional demand, representing about 2% of Canada’s total electricity demand in 2040. In the Technology case, electricity demand for transportation increases 118 PJ (33 TW.h) by 2040, and represents about 8.5% of the projected total end-use electricity demand in 2040.

At the same time, the increasing energy efficiency through emission regulations for light duty vehicles and increased biofuel blending results in major reductions in conventional gasoline and diesel use. Overall, these projections indicate Canada’s electricity system will have to evolve to adapt to growing demand, while other infrastructure may be required for alternative fuels. These results and underlying assumptions are explained more fully in EF2018.

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