The majority of Ontarians — 56 per cent, to be exact — expect themselves or someone they live with to drive an electric or hybrid vehicle within the next decade, according to a recent survey commissioned by the group that represents local hydro utilities in the province.
Almost one-in-three Ontarians (30 per cent) expect someone in their household to buy or lease an EV or hybrid in half that time, the same survey found. Current EV and hybrid owners also trend decidedly younger and male.
Those were some of the standout findings of polling done by the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA), which conducts research that's relevant to utility companies, among other things. It released a study based on a poll of 1,979 adults in Ontario conducted between Feb. 8 to 11. Respondents were part of research-company Maru/Blue's online database, and were selected to reflect the province's overall population base don regional, age and gender demographics.
The EDA asked several questions about EV ownership.
As the group likeliest to own an EV, Ontario men aged 18 to 34 (21 per cent of whom belong to a household that owns an EV or hybrid) are three times as likely to own an EV or hybrid than the average Ontarian, the EDA's survey found. Women aged 55 or older are least likely, with only one per cent owning, or living in a home with someone who owns, an EV or hybrid.
There's less drastic regional disparities when it comes to EV ownership, though Torontonians are most likely to drive electric (11 per cent of households have one), while people in southwestern Ontario are least likely to (four per cent of households have an EV or hybrid).
The trend seen in current EV or hybrid ownership — that adopters tend to be younger and male — was replicated in responses to the question about buying one in the future. Generally speaking, the younger the person was the more enthusiastic they were about buying an EV or hybrid sooner. The same was the case for men — the more hopeful future-purchaser of an EV or hybrid, compared to women.
The PC government has recently leaned into promoting Ontario as a hub for future EV production. This comes just a few years after briefly steering the province away from that very same road by cancelling purchasing incentives and halting the building of charging stations.
Ontario could be in for another U-turn in EV policy in the upcoming election, although it's unlikely to be as drastic as after Premier Doug Ford's PCs won the 2018 election to end successive Liberal governments that spanned 15 years.
The other parties likeliest to be elected — the NDP and Liberals — are also keen to transform Ontario's auto-manufacturing sector into being EV- and hybrid-focused. The same is the case with the Greens, who will hope to build upon their single seat in this spring's election.
The federal Liberal government will require all new passenger vehicles sold by 2035 to be zero-emission.
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