Electric Vehicles

By 2035, Canada is expected to have 100% of car and passenger truck sales be zero-emission.


With the Canadian transportation sector contributing one quarter of national greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, and the opportunity to transition from a predominantly fossil fuel driven sector to a cleaner electricity future – zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) are here to stay.

ZEVs include:

  • Plug-In Hybrids which combine a gas-powered engine with a battery that is rechargeable from the electrical grid.
  • Battery Electric Vehicles which run entirely on electricity.
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle which runs on electricity produced from a fuel cell using hydrogen gas.

Data Source: Electric Mobility Canada. Electric Vehicle Sales in Canada.
Data Retrieved:
July 2021; Visual Created by the Canadian Electricity Association

Quick facts

New motor vehicle registrations, 2021

  • There were 1.6 million new motor vehicles registered in Canada in 2021, increasing 6.5% from 2020.
  • New registrations of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) hit an important milestone in 2021, with ZEVs comprising 5.2% of all new motor vehicles registered.
  • In 2021, 93.4% of new zero-emission vehicles were registered in Canada’s three largest provinces; 42.8% of new ZEVs registered were in Quebec, 27.7% in British Columbia, and 22.9% in Ontario.

Preparing grids for EV growth

In 2021, the Canadian Government announced that it will require 100 per cent of car and passenger truck sales to be zero-emission by 2035 – an advance of five years from the previous goal of 2040.

The shift to electrification of transportation is accelerating worldwide, and the ability of the electricity sector to effectively meet this growing demand is pivotal to its long-term success. ZEV numbers are growing exponentially as car manufacturers release more models.

Many electricity utilities in Canada are uniquely positioned to support the growth in electrified transportation – not only through power production, but also through strategic investments in distribution and fast-charging infrastructure.

This will require regulatory innovation through provincial and territorial government directives to create appropriate rate classes for different charging needs, and to allow utilities to include upfront infrastructure costs (associated with deploying fast chargers) within the investments where they can earn a regulated return.

Utilities are further preparing their grids for the predicted growth in electricity demand with trials for smart charging when electricity demand and prices are low. Emerging technology also has the potential to turn ZEVs into a large fleet of mobile batteries, which could be aggregated to supply energy to the grid.

Electric vehicle terminology

  • ICE - Internal Combustion Engine (gas)
  • HEV - Hybrid Electric Vehicle (mostly gas, some electric)
  • PHEV - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (mostly electric, some gas)
  • BEV - Battery Electric Vehicle (battery only)
  • ZEV - Zero Emissions Vehicle (no emissions)