BEVs still have a long way to go before they dominate Canada’s new-vehicle marketplace, but last year’s sales figures show that Canadian drivers continue to warm up to electric vehicles. Statistics Canada says EV sales were up in each of the first three quarters of 2021 compared to the year before, despite an overall sluggish year for the auto industry.
Tesla has proven there’s a strong market for upscale, high-performance BEVs, but sales by mainstream automakers show that Canadians are also keen on more affordable battery-powered models like small crossovers. And BEV sales should continue to climb in 2022 and 2023 as manufacturers expand into more segments, like the lucrative pickup truck category.
For now, if you’re curious what the fuss is about, here’s a look at last year’s five best-selling BEVs in Canada.
1. Tesla Model 3 – 12,802 sales in 2021
The Tesla Model 3 compact sedan was Canada’s best-selling BEV in 2021, with 12,802 examples finding their way into Canadians’ garages and driveways, according to GoodCarBadCar.net.
Tesla offers the Model 3 in a base Standard Range trim with about 150 km of driving range, while the top choice is a Long Range model with 576 km. Tesla’s website lists prices starting at $45,099 and ranging up to nearly $76,000. (Note that all prices quoted in this article are MSRPs and don’t include federal or provincial rebates.)
2. Hyundai Kona Electric – 6,903 sales in 2021
Hyundai Canada says it sold 6,903 examples of its Kona Electric in 2021. That’s about 22 per cent of the Kona subcompact crossover’s total sales, which also include the more common gas-powered version. That’s an impressive split considering the Kona Electric’s $43,899 starting price is nearly double that of the gas model.
According to Natural Resources Canada, the Kona Electric promises 415 km of driving range from its 64-kWh battery, a combined energy consumption estimate of 2.0 Le/100 km, and 201 hp that goes to the front wheels.
3. Tesla Model Y – 6,398 sales
Tesla is doing big business with its compact models: GoodCarBadCar.net says the Model Y compact crossover accounted for nearly a third of the brand’s Canadian sales last year.
Given the current crossover-crazy marketplace, it’s easy to assume the Model Y would be a stronger seller than the Model 3 sedan, but it’s also more expensive to start, at $76,990 for the base Long Range version, whose dual-motor powertrain promises up to 531 km of driving on a single charge.
For about another $8,500, the Model Y Performance boasts more power, but can still go 488 km, according to Natural Resources Canada.
Meanwhile, the Tesla’s two mid-size offerings – the Model X crossover and Model S sedan, both of which start at well over $100,000 – combined for just 1,600 Canadian sales in 2021.
4. Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV – 4,668 sales
Chevrolet began selling its second-generation Bolt EV in early 2021 and expanded the model’s lineup with a crossover version called Bolt EUV. Both are well-executed vehicles that promise more than 400 km of driving range and combined energy consumption estimates of 2.0 Le/100 km for the Bolt EV and 2.1 Le/100 km for the larger EUV.
But GM Canada’s 4,668 Bolt EV and EUV sales don’t tell the full story. A safety recall prompted by battery fires forced Chevrolet to stop selling the Bolt EV and EUV for part of 2021 until the company got to the root of the problem, a setback that likely cost the company a lot of Bolt business.
5. Ford Mustang Mach-E – 4,352 sales
The Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first serious effort to establish itself in the mainstream BEV marketplace. While we question the use of the Mustang badge – Mach-E would be a great name on its own – there’s no question this all-electric crossover will do a lot to help Ford’s EV sales.
Clearly, Canadians are on board, with Ford recording 4,352 Mach-Es sold in 2021, which is enough for the final spot on our list.
Driving range runs from 397 km in the base Select trim to 505 km in a California Route 1 package. If you want performance that lives up to the Mustang’s heritage, a GT Performance Edition boasts 480 hp. Pricing starts at $51,495 (Select RWD) and tops out at $85,995 for the GT Performance model with its standard AWD.