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Canada says all new cars and trucks must be zero emission by 2035, industry unhappy


OTTAWA — Canada on Tuesday released final regulations mandating that all passenger cars, SUVs, crossovers and light trucks sold by 2035 must be zero-emission vehicles, part of the government’s overall plan to combat climate change.

The new rules, known as the Electric Vehicle Availability Standard, were first unveiled in 2021. They are designed to help ensure supply is available to the market and shorten wait times to get an electric vehicle (EV).

Under interim targets set by Ottawa, zero-emission vehicles must make up at least 20% of all cars sold by 2026 and at least 60% by 2030. Industry officials say EVs represented 12.1% of new vehicle sales in the third quarter of 2023.

“Zero-emission vehicles are an essential component of Canada’s low-carbon future,” Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement. Transportation accounts for about 22% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The rules are similar to those adopted by California, which says 100% of new cars sold in 2035 must be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), EVs or powered by hydrogen fuel cell. A total of 17 U.S. states have agreed to adopt the regulations.

Global EV sales now make up about 13% of all vehicle sales and are likely to rise to between 40%-45% of the market by the end of the decade, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

The Canadian automobile industry says the regulations are too ambitious, noting the higher cost of electric vehicles and the fact the charging network is incomplete, especially in rural areas. Canada, the world’s second largest country, has a population of just 40 million people.

“Regulating Canadians to buy EVs they can’t afford, or charge, will be a made-in-Canada policy failure,” Tim Reuss, president of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association, told reporters last Friday.

In an effort to address complaints that EVs are impractical in remote and northern areas, where cold conditions can cut the efficiency of batteries, PHEVs with an all-electric range of 80 km or more will remain eligible for sale in 2035 and beyond. 


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