A new survey finds many Canadians are still reluctant to “go green” and buy an electric car.

While electric cars have greatly improved over the past decade, J.D. Power’s Electric Vehicle Consideration Study found when it comes to buying one, many Canadians aren’t ready to commit.

“One of the interesting findings is that in the United States interest in electric cars is going up, while in this country it’s going down,” said J.D. Ney, Director of Canadian Automotive Practice at J.D. Power.

The Canadian study found 66 per cent respondents said they are “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to consider an electric vehicle (EV) the next time they have to buy a car.

This is the second annual survey of EV consideration by J.D. Power and compared to last year, the company said that interest in buying an EV dropped 13 per cent.

Some of the biggest concerns Canadian respondents have about going fully electric are includes the limited driving distance per charge (63 per cent), the purchase price of EVs (59 per cent), and the lack of available charging stations (55 per cent).

“Canadians remain fairly skeptical or reluctant to jump in on EVs based on their perceived range, particularly in this country where it does tend to get cold,” said Ney.

Cara Clairman, CEO of Plug’n Drive, a non-profit agency promoting EVs, told CTV News Toronto that even though many Canadian drivers have range anxiety, she said most only take one to three long trips a year – and EVs should work most of the time for them.

“Eighty per cent of Canadians drive 50 kilometres or less a day, so for most of us, this long distance driving is not actually a concern,” Clairman said.

While rebates can help bring down the upfront cost of an EV, a $14,000 rebate was canceled by the Ontario government about four years ago.

Even without the rebate, Clairman said EV owners will save money on maintenance and gasoline over time.

“If you spend $1.50 on gas per litre, I spend about 30 cents a litre equivalent with my electric car, so you can save thousand of dollars a year on fuel alone,” she said.

As more charging stations are built and EV ranges improve, more Canadians may consider going electric, but for now the majority still plan to sit on the sidelines.

Advocates for electric vehicles say more people would buy them if they tried them out. More than half of all Canadians have never even sat in an EV and research shows that drivers who rented, borrowed or test drove an EV are more likely to purchase one. 


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