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Montreal auto show highlights electric vehicles as industry grapples with dip in enthusiasm

About 80 per cent of all the vehicles being shown by manufacturers at this year’s Montreal International Auto Show, the highest number ever, are either electric or hybrid.

“Because we’re transitioning towards EV’s,” explained the show’s executive director Luis Perreira. “It’s a normal transition. Whenever new vehicles come out they are here at the auto show.”

That transition is happening largely because governments are pushing. The federal government just released its zero-emission vehicle sales targets to accelerate the adoption of such vehicles. By 2035 all new passenger vehicles sold in the country must be zero-emission, 20 percent by 2026 and  60 percent by 2030.

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However, last fall a report suggested the sales of electric vehicles were slowing. It says in 2023 just 56 percent of consumers who don’t own an EV would get one, compared to 68 percent the year before. Marc Lachapelle, co-author of Le Guide de l’auto, cites cost, anxiety over range, and limited charging infrastructure as reasons for the decline.

“There’s also very long waits for some pure electric, battery electric vehicles,” said added. “Two-three-year waits, so I think that’s what created the backlash.”

People were also frustrated about charging problems during the recent cold snap in parts of North America. Lachapelle believes, however, that the interest in going electric is not completely gone.

“Now people are back looking at hybrids, and PHEVs – plug-in hybrids,” he explained, “so there’s an interest in maybe a wider range of electric vehicles.”

Lachapelle thinks the lull in interest in fully electric vehicles is temporary.

“It’s a trend, don’t worry about that,” he laughed. “EV’s are here to stay. There’s no question about that.”

Though, he and other advocates stress the problems with cost, infrastructure and supply need to be addressed quickly.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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