Electric trucks show potentionial for Canadian market, but cost and model availability are big hurdles

For every four electric cars sold, there is one electric truck sold.  In Canada, there are fewer models of electric trucks and SUVs available to Canadians.  Workhorse Group photo.

No pure electric truck models available in Canada

Since 2010, truck sales have gained market share over passenger cars. In 2009, Canadians bought roughly one truck (including pick ups, sport utility vehicles (SUVs)/crossovers, and minivans) for every car sold. In 2018, Canadians purchased almost 2.5 trucks for every car sold, according to the National Energy Board.

Truck sales have not taken off in the electric vehicle market like they have in the ICE (internal combustion engine) market. Among electric vehicles, sales of passenger cars are significantly higher than trucks.

The chart below shows that over four electric cars are sold for every electric truck.

There are many reasons for this, among them are that fewer models of electric trucks are currently available to Canadians, and the costs are currently higher than their ICE counterparts. In 2018, there were only 9 truck models available to Canadians, compared to 26 for passenger cars.

Battery costs and capacities, and subsequently vehicle prices, also contribute to the relatively slower introduction of electric truck/SUV models. Additionally, these models are generally priced at a premium to their ICE alternatives.

Only one EV model was under $30,000, 10 were within the $30,000-$40,000 price range, seven within the $40,000-$50,000 price range, and nine models over the $50,000 price range. In comparison, the Ford Focus, Fusion and Taurus starting MSRPs are $16,178, $21,488, and $31,947, respectively.

There are relatively few categories of electric passenger cars compared to ICE vehicles. Even within the truck market, the types of ICE and electric vehicles differ.

There are no electric pick-up trucks and relatively few electric SUV alternatives available in Canada; four out of the top five best-selling trucks in 2017 were pick-up trucks.

These four models represent 26 per cent of total ICE truck sales.

In contrast, the top-selling EV truck was the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, accounting for 44 per cent of all EV truck sales.

The next four best selling EV trucks were SUVs, accounting for 53 per cent of all EV truck sales.

The upcoming years will provide valuable insight into Canadians’ willingness to adopt EVs if more models become available. Some automakers, like Ford and General Motors, plan to shift their focus from EV car production to SUVs and crossovers. Combining these targets with the projected increase in battery efficiencyFootnote4 and the increasing preference for trucks, electric vehicle sales could grow further.

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