EV stats for British Columbia (2012)

The kind people at CEV for BC sent over some statistics on Clean Energy Vehicle rebates issued by the provincial government.

While the CEV rebates were available for electric, natural gas, and fuel cell vehicles, my understanding is that the rebates break down as follows:

– 308x EV’s

– 0 NGV’s

– 0 FCV’s


Given the limited infrastructure and product offerings (apart from a natural gas Honda Civic, I’m unaware of other methane-based production vehicles) it’s unsurprising that natural gas vehicles didn’t capture any rebates.  Much the same can be said for fuel cell cars.  In contrast, almost everyone in Canada is connected to a grid, and all the major auto companies are making plug-ins, if in modest quantities.

It’s also worth noting that natural gas is becoming more common in the trucking industry (where centralized fueling depots provide sufficient infrastructure) but that the above rebates only apply to “light-duty” passenger vehicles.

More after the jump!


There were hopes that about 1400 CEV rebates could be issued by March 31 2013, but with three months and 1100 rebates left, it looks as if British Columbia’s EV uptake will be more modest.  To find out how BC compares to the rest of Canada, we might consider that since the CEV for BC program started, there have been roughly 300 plug-in sales in BC, with about 1900 plug-ins sold across the country.  As such, while BC has 1/8 of Canada’s population, it’s about 1/6 the plug-in market.  The percentages work out to 12% and 16%, respectively.   [4.4 million / 35 million = 12%.  300/1900 = 16%]

Given BC’s environmental idealism — it’s the birthplace of Greenpeace and the David Suzuki Foundation, among others — I would’ve expected the province to be further ahead of its peers, and perhaps represent 1/4 of all Canadian plug-in sales.  Mind you, local real estate prices being what they are, it’s entirely possible that many people who’d consider plug-in vehicles if their mortgage payments weren’t so high, choose vehicles with less up-front cost.  The author certainly could not have afforded his plug-in vehicle, if he hadn’t spent so many years — his entire life, in fact! — renting.  :)

As per the spreadsheet, in Canada the post-rebate prices of plug-in vehicles is north of $30,000 — which places EV’s in the most expensive 15% of the market.  [To be precise, only 15% of vehicles sold in Canada in Jan-Nov 2012 had a base-model MSRP of $30,000 or more.]  This adds important context, as we can clarify that:

“while EV’s only represented 0.1% of vehicles sold in Canada, they represented 0.6% of sales, among cars of comparable (up-front) cost.”


The CEV for BC data suggests that, as in the rest of Canada, the Chevy Volt maintained a dominant market share in British Columbia.  Their numbers suggest the Volt is half the market.  While CEV data does not include vehicles bought prior to Dec 2011 — and two-thirds of the EV’s bought in Canada before then were Chevy Volts — their dataset doesn’t include any Teslas.

The Volt’s 50% market share in BC is much lower than its Canadian market share in 2012 (70%).  We can do the math to conclude that excluding British Columbia, the Volt had about 75% EV market share across Canada in the (Dec 1 2011 – Dec 31 2012).

After the Volt, the next-best selling plug-in vehicle in BC has been the Nissan LEAF, representing about 1/4 of the market, with the other automakers splitting the balance of consumer interest.  The BC portion of the spreadsheet is reproduced below.

EVs in BC

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  • Cody  On January 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    does this data take into consideration the custom EV market. I am sure you know that doing a conversion on a fossil fuel powered vehicle is a great deal less expensive.

    • EclecticLip  On January 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Cody!

      The numbers don’t take custom conversions into consideration — they’re built off manufacturers’ monthly sales announcements, and so conversions fall under the radar. I’d guess there are few enough conversions (a handful across Canada per year, now that OEM EV’s are available?) that they become rounding error to the current sales numbers. It’s just that DIY markets tend to be a lot smaller than OEM markets. Now that you mention it, though, perhaps I’ll try to contact HyMotion and other companies who’ve been doing conversions, to try to get some actual numbers!

      Perhaps the biggest gap in the spreadsheet is that it doesn’t factor in electric scooters, which are cheaper (and probably much more numerous) than EV automobiles. Unfortunately, data on their sales seems harder to come by.



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