Comprehensive survey highlights trends and challenges in Canada’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure; reveals EV owners’ experiences and priorities
TORONTO – January 29, 2024: Pollution Probe, in partnership with the Mobility Futures Lab, has released the results of a comprehensive Charging Experience Survey, offering an in-depth analysis of the electric vehicle (EV) charging landscape in Canada. This project is made possible with funding of $180,000 via NRCan’s Zero Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI) in addition to support by the University of Toronto. The survey reveals crucial insights into the charging experience of EV owners and public charging infrastructure’s current state and future potential.
As the Canadian government moves towards its net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2050, EV adoption is crucial. In December, the Government announced its Electric Vehicle Availability Standard, ensuring Canadians greater choice in vehicles such that by 2035, all passenger cars, SUVs, and light trucks sold are zero-emission. Canada’s ZEV market witnessed a significant 44% increase in ZEV sales in 2022, surpassing 120,000 units. Additionally, the Government has made substantial investments, totalling over $1.2B, in charging infrastructure and has already committed funds to over 47,000 chargers as of December 2023.
Understanding user experiences is key to removing barriers and streamlining the adoption of EVs by even more Canadians.
Key Findings/ Survey Insights
The 2023 survey, part of a yearly series planned for 2023 and 2024, received responses from more than 1,500 EV owners from every province. Results were categorized into four key areas to better understand charging behavior, network coverage satisfaction, network service satisfaction, and network payment systems. Some key findings in each category include:
- Charging Behavior: The majority of drivers travel less than 60 km daily and 80% of respondents own EVs with over 300km range. However, long-distance travel necessitates public charging, with 38% of EV owners embarking on trips over 200 km monthly.
- Network Coverage Satisfaction: Quebec leads in satisfaction, with 40% finding the number of public charging stations adequate. EV owners in other provinces showed lower satisfaction in accessing public charging stations.
- Network Service Satisfaction: The reliability of charging infrastructure is a concern, with 19% in Quebec and up to 44% in other provinces experiencing outages. 56% of EV owners feel that the power supply at public charging stations is inconsistent.
- Payments and Costs: Payment system satisfaction varies, with 48% finding costs reasonable and 52% open to paying more for faster charging. A significant majority of respondents (60% – 79%) showed a willingness to participate in time-of-use pricing, smart charging, or vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging programs, which offer potential cost savings.
The survey data suggests that adding more level 2 charging stations at retail centers, hotels, and recreational spots and level 3 DCFC or fast charging stations along highways and in high-volume residential areas (MURBs, condos, apartments, etc.) would greatly increase consumer confidence in public EV charging infrastructure. Emphasis is placed on developing universal construction standards for public EV charging stations, including clear signage and proper lighting to enhance user safety and experience. Further recommendations include introducing regulations for network operators to ensure a minimum station uptime and standardized billing formats. Regular surveys are also advised to monitor the evolving charging experiences of EV owners, using the data to shape policy decisions and infrastructure development.
“Pollution Probe is pleased to release the results of its 2023 survey of Canadian electric vehicle owners on the consumer charging experience. We commend Natural Resources Canada for its leadership in achieving such an impressive and substantial expansion of Canada’s EV charging network. Our report identifies opportunities to build on these successes – in areas including network coverage satisfaction, network service satisfaction and network payment and cost.”
–Christopher Hilkene, Chief Executive Officer at Pollution Probe
“The Government of Canada is investing to make electric vehicles more affordable and charging more available where Canadians live, work and play. Investing in more EV chargers puts more Canadians in the driver’s seat on the road to a sustainable and prosperous net-zero future.”
-The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
The full report is available in the links below, including key findings and recommendations for next steps.
VIEW THE ENGLISH AND FRENCH VERSIONS OF THE REPORT: Click Here
About Pollution Probe
Pollution Probe is a national, not-for-profit, charitable organization that pursues environmental gains by productively working with governments, industry and the public. With a steadfast commitment to clean air, clean water and a healthy planet, Pollution Probe has been at the forefront of environmental issues and action since its inception in 1969. www.pollutionprobe.org
Natural Resources Canada develops policies and programs that enhance the contribution of the natural resources sector to the economy, improve the quality of life for all Canadians and conducts innovative science in facilities across Canada to generate ideas and transfer technologies. They are an established leader in the fields of energy sources and distribution, forests and forestry, minerals and mining, earth sciences, energy efficiency, science and data.
NRCan also represents Canada at the international level to meet the country’s global commitments related to the sustainable development of natural resources.
Pollution Probe’s project announced today was made possible by the Zero Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI). ZEVAI supports projects that aim to increase awareness, knowledge and public confidence in zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and public charging and refueling infrastructure. The ZEVAI helps fund outreach, education, and capacity-building activities, ultimately enabling greater adoption of ZEVs by Canadians in all regions of the country. More information on ZEVs and its positive impact can be found here.
About Mobility Futures Lab
Mobility Futures Lab is a leading sustainable transportation consulting startup that is at the forefront of innovation and research in the field of mobility. The firm’s services are designed to help clients navigate the complex landscape of sustainable transportation, with a focus on proprietary software tools and data-driven solutions. Our approach is based on a deep understanding of the interconnections between transportation, energy, and the environment.
For more information please contact:
Steve McCauley, Senior Director
(416) 926-1907 x 252
Cedric Smith, Director, Transportation
Dena Cole, Media Partner