Electric Vehicle Sales In Canada, Q3 2017

 In Electric Vehicle News

The Canadian plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales for the third quarter are in! We’ve divided the analysis into The Fast Five (the five numbers that you need to know) and The Details.

The Fast Five


Canadian year-over-year sales growth.  Canadian EV sales for the first 9 months of the year are up 56%. 9-month sales in 2016 were 7,996. By contrast, 9-month sales in 2017 were 12,470.   2017 sales have been accelerated by an expanding lineup of fully electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq, and Volkswagen e-Golf.


Ontario year-over-year sales growth.  Ontario EV sales for the first 9 months of the year are up 96%. On a %-of-sales basis, Ontario has historically lagged BC and Quebec despite having a strong sales incentive.  As a result of the provincial EVCO program, the number of fast chargers in Ontario has risen from 5 to 140 over the past year, not including Tesla Superchargers.  This dramatic and recent rise in fast charging infrastructure puts Ontario on par with infrastructure in Quebec and BC and appears to be having an impact on EV sales.  In addition, the promise of free overnight charging has resonated with potential EV owners and there remains excitement within the industry on how and when that program will be rolled out.


Total EVs in Canada. The number of EVs in Canada surpassed 40,000 in the third quarter.  Canada crossed the 20,000 mark in early 2016.  A year and a half later, that number has doubled.


EVs as a fraction of overall vehicle sales in September.  EV sales in September were 2,171.  The first time monthly sales have topped 2,000.  While Statistics Canada hasn’t published the final September total motor vehicle sales numbers, the final tally is expected to be between 185,000 and 195,000.  The result is that EV sales have topped 1% of total motor vehicle sales for the first time in Canadian history.  FleetCarma generally presents 3-month trailing average due to end-of-quarter surges in Tesla registration; however, the September numbers are remarkable enough to present as a stand-alone result.  *please note: this post will be updated once the final numbers are posted to the Statistics Canada website.


The number of electric vehicle models currently on Canadian roads. 26 plug-in hybrids and 15 battery electric vehicles.  The new addition in the third quarter was the Cadillac CT6.

Overall, Canada continues to see EV sales continue to grow and set new records every quarter.


The Details (for the data nerds)

Staying true to the trend of 2017, EV sales have continued to climb through the months of July, August, and September. Plug-in EV sales are comprised of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) while excluding non-plug-in hybrid vehicles (HEV).  The total number of plug-in EVs sold in Canada in the third quarter is 4,756. This represents a 38.62% increase over the same quarter in the previous year, Q3 2016.

Q3 Canadian EV Sales Statistics - BEV PHEV Cumulative MonthlyLooking at a breakdown of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles we can see the change in consumer preference over time. BEV sales in Q3 2017 total 2,590 an increase of 9.2% over the previous quarter, Q2 2017. Plug-in Hybrid sales performed slightly worse, 2,166 sold in the quarter. This represents a slight decrease of 4.17% from the previous quarter, Q2 2017. Electric-only vehicles, BEVs, have outsold plug-in hybrids for the previous three of four quarters. As we look at future projections, it appears as if the momentum of BEV sales will continue to outperform and outpace PHEV sales.


Q3 Canadian EV Sales Statistics - BEV PHEV MonthlyA provincial breakdown of EV sales in the Canadian market reveals which provinces are maintaining momentum towards EV adoption goals. Quebec plug-in EV sales in the third quarter of 2017 total 1,806, one vehicle shy from sales in the previous quarter. Ontario EV sales saw 1,872 new vehicles on the road in Q2.  British Columbia, despite selling less overall EVs saw the highest rate of EV adoption growth in the quarter. 927 new EVs hit the road in BC in Q3.  The consistency of growth for EV adoption among the provinces has continued to change over time. The chart below illustrates the changing rates of adoption. While Quebec has consistently led the country for overall EV adoption, a recent trend from the first quarter of 2016 illustrates the results of recent efforts Ontario has placed on EV growth rates. The trajectory of growth for EV adoption in Ontario now outpaces Quebec.

Q3 2017 Canadian EV Sales Statistics - Provincial Quarterly

The big picture Canadian EV sales stats

BEV and PHEV have seen different rates of growth in the past three months. BEV sales in Canada now total 21,538. Total PHEV sales in Canada now total 20,164.

Q3 2017 Canadian EV Sales Statistics - BEV PHEV Monthly Total Market

The monthly fluctuation of BEV and PHEV sales in Canada illustrate the difference of market preference over time. September of 2017 represents a record high for both BEV and PHEV sales. A total of 1,289 BEVs were sold in September, beating a previous high of 969 sales in June of 2017. PHEV sales also reached a record high in September of 882 vehicles. This beats the previous high of 853 sales in June of 2017. The plug-in electric vehicle market is definitely not slowing down.

Q3 2017 Canadian EV Sales Statistics - BEV PHEV Monthly TrendLet’s take a look at electric vehicle sales in comparison with overall vehicle sales for the major provincial markets. The third quarter of 2017 saw BEV and PHEV sales total a national average of 0.8% of all cumulative vehicles sales, an increase from 0.7% average in the previous quarter. On a provincial level, EV sales in BC have reached 1.5% of the vehicle market, an increase from 1.2% in the previous quarter. Quebec has reached an average of 1.4% market share, up from 1.2% in Q2. Ontario, the largest province has edged up from 0.7% to 0.8% in Q3.

Q3 2017 Canadian EV Sales Statistics - Provincial Trending 3-Month

A monthly breakdown of EV sales for the previous five years illustrates the growth of the EV market. From a nearly flat sales trend in 2013 total sales and rate of growth in the market has increased each and every year. Our latest data up to September 2017 marks a high point for the overall market. If this year follows a similar trend as 2016 we can expect another record month in October followed by a seasonal cool-down in November and December.

Year to date numbers and year-end forecast

Three-quarters of the way through the year, EV sales numbers for BEVs and PHEVs have surpassed totals for all of 2016. BEV sales totaled 6,629 at the end of September, an increase of 29.22% over 2016 totals. For the same timeline, PHEV sales have also surpassed the previous year totals at 5,841 YTD, now on par with 2016 totals. With three more months in the year EV sales for the 2017 year end are expected to reach 16,627 vehicles, a 50.83% increase over 2016. 2017 BEV sales will mark the largest growth rate of a 72% over 2016 totals, with an estimated 8,800 vehicles sold. PHEV sales are expected to see a 33% rate of growth over 2016 totals, with an estimated 7,700 vehicles sold.

2017 YTD September Canadian EV Sales Stats

Back down the Provincial level, the top three provinces for EV adoption will each, of course, blow past the previous year totals. Based on current rates of growth, year-end 2017 will see Ontario EV adoption growth rates increase the most. An estimated6,497 more EVs are projected to be on Ontario roads by the end of 2017, a 91.08% increase over 2016 totals. The Province of British Columbia will see the second highest increase in the rate of adoption, a 48.59% increase over 2016, totaling 3,167 new EV sales. Quebec is projected to experience a 28.27% rate of increase over 2016 totals with 6,396 new EV sales.

Year to date 2017 Provincial Ontario, BC, Quebec, EV Sales

Q3 Canadian EV sales highlights

  • A new milestone, over 40,000 plug-in EVs in Canada.
  • BEV sales have outpaced PHEV sales for the previous three of four quarters.
  • The national market share of EV sales is nearly 1% of the total market on a 3-month trailing average.  And exceeded 1% in September.
  • September 2017 marks the highest month for EV sales with 2,171 new EVs sold.
  • The province of Ontario, for the second quarter in a row, sold the most EVs and is catching up to BC and Quebec on a %-of-sales basis.





As always, the data is sourced from R.L. Polk & Company registration data, industry executive interviews, and rounded out by Matthew Klippenstein’s Canadian EV Sales Summaries.

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