Giant Automakers to Roll Out Electric Vehicles in Canada by 2012


Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi and the other leading car manufacturers in the world are planning to roll out their own brand of electric vehicle on Canadian roads in the next two years.

Stephen Beatty, Managing Director of Toyota Canada, recently said that several electric vehicles would be coming out into the market in Canada by 2012.

"I think what we are hearing across the board is that the year 2012 is the time when we are going to have critical mass and a huge number of products coming forward from every manufacturer,“ he said.

Beatty said that, it would be fascinating to see how the market responds to the changing North American auto industry. He believed that the Canadian consumers would have ample choices from an estimated eight to twelve fully electric vehicle brands that would be coming out of the market soon.

Mark McDade, director of marketing at Nissan Canada, on his part said that with his company’s Nissan Leaf ready to be on display in showrooms next year, Nissan would be the first major automaker that would introduce a pure electric vehicle in Canada.

Ford, meanwhile, said it planned to launch its Transit Connect battery-electric van and an electric version of the Focus sedan in roughly the same period. Mitsubishi hopes to begin selling its zero-emission i-MiEV in Canada by late 2011 and Toyota intends to launch an all-electric commuter car by 2012.

However, despite widespread availability in the next two years, fully electric vehicles still face several hurdles before consumers would widely adopt them.

Beatty contends that even with the necessary infrastructure, most consumers would be wary of the brand-new technology until they can see it successfully used by others.

Both he and McDade agree that selling the new technology to large fleets first to attract ordinary consumers would be beneficial for them.

Meanwhile, Nissan Canada together with the Government and electricity providers in Quebec and British Columbia would be starting the construction of the necessary charging infrastructure for fully electric vehicles like the Leaf in Canada.

Dean Stoneley, vice-president of marketing for Ford Canada, said the necessary infrastructure wouldn’t be built without government help. "We need a retail charging network, charging at work, at home, all of that," Stoneley said. "We certainly need government help and we are going to need incentives. We need rebates. We need the government to help educate people to make that a reality."