The Canadian government has set a binding target that only zero-emission passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will be sold in the country from 2035. This brings forward the previous target of achieving this by 2040 by five years.
To achieve the new target, the Canadian government intends to rely on a combination of investments and regulations. With existing measures such as purchase premiums and the expansion of charging infrastructure, this now also means setting new interim targets for 2025 and 2030.
The Liberal government had pledged to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 – and in the process set that new cars should be emission-free after 2040. In deciding to reach this target as early as 2035, Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra referred to a study by the International Energy Agency, according to which almost all new vehicles would have to have zero-emission powertrains from 2035 onwards in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Alghabra described the new target as “ambitious, undoubtedly, but it is a must”. “We believe that it’s doable. It needs determination, it needs focus, it needs effort,” he said. On possible funding programmes, Alghabra said, “We know that we need to do more.”
However, the minister has not yet given further details on budgets. He only stated that the previous support programmes had cost the equivalent of $600 million. The budget for the expanded subsidies, which are apparently to be introduced for other vehicle segments, has not yet been revealed.
The industry association Global Automakers of Canada said in a first reaction that it shared the government’s CO2 target in principle. However, the announcement lacks important details on how the transition to 100 per cent zero-emission vehicles by 2035 is to be achieved.
Currently, zero-emission vehicles account for between three and four per cent of new vehicle registrations in Canada. For 2025, a share of ten per cent has been targeted so far – but this could still change with the announcement and the interim targets for 2025 and 2030 that have yet to be worked out.