Sales of new gas-powered cars will be banned by 2035. Is Canada ready?

In the summer of 2021, as Covid continued to upend our lives, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an easy-to-miss announcement: Canada would ban the sale of new gas-powered cars in 2035.

Although this date may seem distant, it will have a huge impact on almost half a million people employed by the automotive sector. Now that the shift to electric vehicles has a specific date, a multitude of changes in the Canadian workforce are needed to meet the needs of tomorrow. To get a sense of the changing habits of car buyers and the preparedness of the auto industry to meet their demands, Deloitte surveyed 26,000 people from 25 countries, including about 1,000 from Canada, as part of of its 2022 Global Automotive Consumer Study.

We spoke to Ryan Robinson, Head of Automotive Research at Deloitte, about what EV adoption means for Canadians.

What did your research reveal about Canadians’ opinions on buying electric cars?

Only 10% of our survey respondents told us they want a full battery electric vehicle, or BEV, for their next vehicle. The bottom line is that we’re just not moving fast enough to get consumers where they need to be by the end of this decade, or the middle of the next decade, to meet the targets. of Canada when it comes to EVs.

Is the Canadian market ready to take on the entire EV value chain, from production to after-sales service and beyond?

There have been a handful of high-profile announcements about upgrading some of the existing Canadian vehicle assembly facilities to produce electric vehicles. But when you start to move down the automotive value chain, you need to prepare from a retail perspective. For example, people who tell us they want to buy an EV as their next vehicle also say they are more willing to buy it through a virtual sales process. It’s not just what consumers want to buy, but how they want to buy it.

It’s a whole different way of selling cars.

Staff need new digital tools and new sales approaches. There are also obvious impacts from a service and maintenance perspective, where technicians are increasingly expected to be software engineers. Companies are beginning to introduce new training programs for dealers and technicians. But at the moment this varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

What new jobs will emerge downstream?

There could be an opportunity for aftermarket service providers, such as companies that sell vehicle parts or repair cars, if those companies can afford the necessary computerized diagnostic tools. It has become costly for aftermarket players to stay in the game as new vehicles are more complicated, requiring specialized equipment for diagnosis and repair.

Additionally, there is an emerging science associated with the afterlife of electric cars.

Exactly. There are many discussions about what the second or third uses of EV batteries will be. The climate crisis opens up broader questions about the end-of-life or recycling aspects of electric vehicles. These considerations are also part of the conversation