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With more and more automakers announcing their intentions for electrification, and with more EV models now being built, the market seems to be swaying towards an electric future. And yet, you wouldn’t think it if you were shopping for a battery powered vehicle in Canada.

A recent Transport Canada survey reveals that it “still isn’t easy for most Canadians to buy or test drive an electric car, even though there are more electric vehicles available.”

This is the fifth year that Dunsky Energy and Climate Advisors has been commissioned to spearhead the annual study, aptly named ‘Zero Emission Vehicle Availability Estimating Inventories in Canada: 2020/2021’. The survey gathered insights from 78 per cent of dealerships across 10 provinces (3,182 dealerships) and revealed that, despite an increase in the number of electric vehicles available, over half the dealerships still have no inventory.

“You have a chicken and egg situation,” explains Jeff Turner, Dunsky senior research lead and head of mobility practice. “I think the big picture results that we saw here is that there’s there is significant improvement in availability of EVs compared to the previous year – a significant increase in terms of absolute numbers. But, at the same time, it’s pretty clear that a lack of availability is still a really important barrier to adoption in many parts of the country.”

Of the dealerships involved in the report, roughly 1,500 reported having no EV inventory at all in 2021 and 31 per cent said the wait time for EVs would be more than six months. For comparison sake, this number was 10 per cent in 2020.

The writing is on the wall: despite increased consumer interest in EVs and promising production plans from major automakers, the availability of EVs in Canada remains to be an issue and distribution continues to be uneven across cities and provinces.

“Governments and industry need to work pretty hard to make sure that folks who are just possibly interested in EVs can go down to their local dealership and test drive one or maybe take one home,” concludes Turner.

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