Market Snapshot: EVs in Canada – The hidden potential of the electric truck market

Release date: 2019-01-02

Since 2010, truck sales have gained market share over passenger cars. In 2009, Canadians bought roughly one truck (including pick ups, sport utility vehicles (SUVs)/crossovers, and minivans) for every car sold. In 2018, Canadians purchased almost 2.5 trucks for every car soldFootnote 1.

Truck sales have not taken off in the electric vehicle market like they have in the ICE (internal combustion engine) market. Among electric vehicles, sales of passenger cars are significantly higher than trucks. The chart below shows that over 4 electric cars are sold for every electric truck. There are many reasons for this, among them are that fewer models of electric trucks are currently available to Canadians, and the costs are currently higher than their ICE counterpartsFootnote 2. As shown in the chart below, in 2018, there were only 9 truck models available to Canadians, compared to 26 for passenger cars.

Electric vehicle sales by type and available models

Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada, FleetCarma/Matthew Klippenstein’s Canadian EV sales

Description: This chart breaks down electric vehicle (battery and plug-in) sales by truck and passenger car. It shows that EV car sales have increased from 460 in 2011 to over 30 000 in 2018. This aligns with an increase in car models available. In 2011, there were 3 EV car models available, by 2018 there were 26. It also shows that EV truck sales have increased, but at a slower rate compared to cars. There were 218 truck sales in 2015, and this number increased to 7 400 in 2018. These numbers align with an increase in truck models from 2 available in 2015 to 9 in 2018, and with the number of car models increasing from 3 to 26 during the same time period.

There are relatively few categories of electric passenger cars compared to ICE vehicles. Even within the truck market, the types of ICE and electric vehicles differ. There are no electric pick-up trucks and relatively few electric SUV alternatives available in Canada. As the chart below shows, 4 out of the top 5 best-selling trucks in 2017 were pick-up trucks. These 4 models represent 26% of total ICE truck sales. In contrast, the top-selling EV truck was the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, accounting for 44% of all EV truck sales. The next 4 best selling EV trucks were SUVs, accounting for 53% of all EV truck sales.

A comparison ICE and EV model sales

Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada, FleetCarma/Matthew Klippenstein’s Canadian EV sales

Description: This illustration breaks down EV truck sales by engine type and vehicle type. In 2017, the top 4 ICE trucks were pick-up trucks, accounting for 26% of total sales. The fifth highest selling truck was the Toyota Rav4. Together, these top 5 accounted for roughly 425,000 units sold, or 30% of overall ICE truck sales. In 2017, the top selling EV truck was the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, accounting for 44% of total EV truck Sales. The next 4 top selling EV trucks were all SUVs/Crossovers. Together, these top 5 vehicles accounted for roughly 1 800 units sold, or 97% of all EV truck sales.

The upcoming years will provide valuable insight into Canadians’ willingness to adopt EVs if more models become available. Some automakers, like Ford and General Motors, plan to shift their focus from EV car production to SUVs and crossovers. Combining these targets with the projected increase in battery efficiencyFootnote 4 and the increasing preference for trucks, electric vehicle sales could grow further.Footnote 4

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