Recently, I found myself visiting Canada for the second year in a row and was pleasantly surprised by how far their electrification efforts had come in such a short time. Visiting mainly the city of Toronto, with a brief day trip across the province to Niagara Falls, signs of an increased EV presence were everywhere.

With plentiful public charging stations, an array of electrified public transport options and electric cars appearing in both places almost as frequently as a Blue Jay’s jersey did, I became cautiously optimistic that the electrification was not simply limited to the highly populous city center. That said… it was definitely the place where these changes became most apparent.

In the city center, as Toyota RAV4 Primes and various Tesla models roam the roads alongside electric street cars (a.k.a. trolleys or trams), and as e-bike pickup spots dot the corner of every few blocks, giant billboards flash with electrifying messages: “the future is electric” and “making electric vehicles and batteries benefits everyone”.

This message isn’t provided by some corporation, no – it comes directly from the Government of Ontario. The provincial government (i.e., the Canadian equivalent of the state government) has set out some ambitious electrification goals and is introducing several new programs to support these goals.

On a provincial scale, the Government is investing more than $1 billion in EV-related workforce training programs and has crafted several strategies to bolster their EV and EV battery supply chains. Why? To strengthen their domestic economy, by creating local, well-paying jobs to ensure that “EVs and the batteries that power them will be built in Ontario, by Ontario workers.”

In the city of Toronto specifically, further electrification plans exist. With the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) alone “planning to install 500+ EV chargers at TPA off-street parking facilities by the end of 2024”, there are countless plans in action. In fact, under ‘The Sustainable City of Toronto Fleets Plan’ the city aims to:

  • Transition 20 per cent of City-owned fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2025, and 50 per cent by 2030;
  • Achieve a 65 per cent greenhouse gas reduction by 2030 (from 1990 levels); and
  • Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
  • Further expand the fleet charging infrastructure from 142 charge ports at 72 city locations, to 850 charge ports at 100 city locations by the end of 2025. Ideally, this network will “also enable the expansion of the City’s workplace charging program, with charging ports accessible to the public where feasible.”

Even further beyond any investment into the workforce or public transportation electrification, exists incentives for residents. The Government of Canada is also providing an up to $5,000 CAD iZEV incentive to those who buy or lease eligible Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs). This is equivalent to just under $3,800 USD, which is relatively comparable to Massachusetts’s own state rebate program MOR-EV which offers up to $3,500 to the customer. (Luckily, in Massachusetts, US citizens can also tack on the federal up to $7,500 tax credit, potentially saving them up to $10,000 total off the MSRP of their chosen EV.)

In short, there’s a lot going on in world of Canadian vehicle electrification. With an abundance of well-structured electrification plans, strategic investments into the development of their workforce and infrastructure and solid incentive programs, it seems the future truly is electric.

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