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Less than half of Canadians say they will buy an electric vehicle as their next car: survey

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An Ontario man said he couldn’t believe he would need to spend almost $15,000 to fix the electrical system and replace the battery in his 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

“I was in total shock, just blown away,” said Darrin Smith of Mississauga, Ont.

Smith said his car had 97,000 kilometres on the odometer when it stopped working. After almost $5,000 worth of work, Smith was told he also needed a new engine and a new hybrid battery.

"If I had to look into buying a new vehicle, I wouldn’t get a hybrid again and I wouldn’t get an electric car, I would get a gas-powered car. I’ve learned my lesson,” Smith said.

The federal government wants all new cars sold in Canada to be electric by 2035, but a recent survey by AutoTrader found not all Canadians are ready to make the switch as they have concerns about charging stations, cold weather and battery life.

According to AutoTrader, in 2022 at least 68 per cent of Canadians were interested in buying an electric vehicle. In 2023, that number dropped to 56 per cent. In 2024, it dropped to 46 per cent.

Part of the reason is the cost of electric cars which can sell for an average of 15 to 20 per cent more than gas-powered cars.

"Consumers are a bit hesitant and vehicle purchasing costs are top of mind for obvious reasons,” said Baris Akyurek, Vice President of Marketing Intelligence at AutoTrader.

The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA) represents Ford, General Motors and Stellantis and feels a lack of charging stations throughout Canada is hurting electric vehicle sales.

“We are seeing a slowdown in interest for Canadian consumers and that is largely due to the charging infrastructure and a price gap between a gas-powered vehicles and a electric vehicles," said Brian Kingston, president and CEO of CVMA.

Kingston says there are more than a million kilometres of roads in Canada that will require tens of thousands of charging stations if Canadians want to feel secure in buying an electric car.

In AutoTrader’s survey, it did find that of those interested in purchasing an electric vehicle 62 per cent would consider buying a hybrid.

CTV News Toronto also reached out to Hyundai Canada about Smith’s vehicle and a spokesperson said: “Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention, as it allowed us to investigate this case for the first time, and provide support to Mr. Smith.”

“Hyundai Auto Canada has fully reviewed the technical details of the situation, and resolved it amicably with Mr. Smith.”

Smith told CTV News that Hyundai was now going to cover the cost of the electrical repairs and the hybrid battery replacement, which was great news for him.

“We were able to come to a resolution so it's great. This is really incredible,” said Smith.

Currently, about 11 per cent of new car sales are electric and the industry says prices should continue to come down.

Seventy-five per cent of those asked in the survey said they feel it’s unlikely Canada will reach its target to sell only electric cars by the year 2035. 

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