Rising gas prices in British Columbia push car buyers to buy electric cars

British Columbians are willing to fight each other, wait in line or buy outside the province for an electric car.

Rising gas prices are driving British Columbians towards electric vehicles (EV), but supply is not matching demand, according to a report from BC Hydro.

While 2021 was a record year for British Columbians to switch to electric vehicles, pickup could have been higher if more were available, according to a May 13 report from the facility.

Manufacturers have faced supply chain issues as well as lithium battery and microchip shortages over the past two years. This means less production.

While manufacturers still face challenges, research indicates that supply chain shortages are easing by 2023, the report said.

Research has found that 34 percent of British Columbians interested in buying a car are reluctant to buy an electric car due to the lack of availability.

This lack of availability has been driven in part by COVID-19, as the pandemic has caused global supply chain problems.

“Research from an independent auto analyst shows that supply chain problems for electric vehicles will begin to recede by 2023, with supply close to fully meeting demand by 2026,” the report said.

Setting aside, the switch to electric vehicles is something Victoria advocated as part of adapting to climate change several years ago. BC Hydro has been throughout the journey working on the electric vehicle infrastructure.

Fighting over cars

However, the situation still leaves electric car dealerships with year-long waiting times, depending on what type of vehicle the customer wants.

“In fact, 41 percent of those actively shopping for an electric vehicle describe the buying process as difficult,” the report said.

While some people joined the queues, others looked elsewhere, including:

  • 13 percent make inquiries to buy a friend/family/neighbors car;
  • 15 percent are considering buying an electric vehicle outside of a province or country;
  • 11 percent agreed with a color they don’t want or lack features they want;
  • Five percent buy a more luxurious model or spend more than they initially wanted, and;
  • One percent fights with another electric vehicle buyer.

With all these buyers ready, BC Hydro believes the electric vehicle market is on the cusp of significant growth.

The market share of electric vehicles in British Columbia is expected to grow by 3.5 percent from about 25,000 new units in 2021 to more than 30,000 units in 2022. In 2023, the market share will grow by 6.5 percent with 45,000 units available New.

Looking ahead, by 2026, electric vehicles in British Columbia could make up a quarter of all electric vehicles in Canada, with an additional 118,000 units.

So where does that leave the British Columbians with a focus on EV?

Kyle Donaldson, a spokesperson for BC Hydro, has some suggestions.

Plan and be flexible as the demand for electric vehicles is high. He said it may take some time to locate a particular vehicle. Shortlisted forms and get on waiting lists. Visit bchydro.com/ev to find all electric vehicles available in British Columbia by manufacturer, vehicle type, price and range.

And buy a second hand. The province recently announced that it will no longer collect a provincial sales tax (PST) on sales of used electric vehicles.

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