Transportation is Canada’s second-largest source of GHG emissions and is dominated by light-duty vehicles. Although most cities have some form of mass transit, communities are built around the car: 80% of commuters drive to work, and 85% of households own at least one car.

of Canada’s emissions (not including emissions from gasoline production)

Priorities for Action

  1. Extend subsidies for electric vehicle purchases
  2. Implement zero-emission vehicle standards
  3. Intensify investment in charging infrastructure, including measures to ensure charging at multi-unit residential buildings and associated building code adjustments
  4. Firm up gasoline/diesel phaseout date
  5. Strategic intervention to build out supply chain for zero-emission transport manufacturing

The Opportunity

Transitioning to net zero emissions requires moving beyond fuel efficiency improvements to a fundamental shift in vehicle design. Battery electric vehicles (EVs) offer the most convincing solution, and include co-benefits like lower lifetime vehicle costs, improved performance, reduced maintenance, and the elimination of conventional air pollutants. In the last decade, battery prices have dropped by over 80%, vehicle range has steadily improved, and a wider range of vehicle types have come to market, although the industry still faces challenges around EV cost and availability, as well as the rollout of charging infrastructure.

Building an EV value chain in Canada is essential to accelerate market penetration and to secure economic opportunities in a net-zero future. While its domestic market is small, Canada’s advantages in the race toward electrified transport include mineral resources; mining, processing, and electrochemical capacity required for battery manufacture; developed automotive assembly and parts sectors; and a skilled workforce.

Today’s Challenges

Up-front zero-emission vehicle cost; limited charging/refueling infrastructure; continued efforts by established manufacturers to ‘manage’ (slow) adoption to maximize their return on existing internal combustion vehicle investment (supply)

Future Challenges

Managing grid integration; smart charging; vehicle to grid; advanced materials; integration with other transportation approaches including active mobility, public transit, mobility as a service and connected and autonomous vehicles

Indicators of progress

Percent of zero-emission vehicle sales; infrastructure buildout; value added in zero-emission vehicle production

Our Net Zero Decision Support Tool envisions a transformational level of change across eight key pathways: