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Report: Pent-up pandemic demand could lead to EV bottleneck

VANCOUVER: A new BC Hydro report1 finds pent-up demand due to the pandemic, may mean longer queues for electric vehicle buyers as more British Columbians return to commuting and travel.

The report titled “Leading the charge: Why demand for EVs will increase in a post-pandemic world[PDF, 131 KB] finds while 2020 was a record year in B.C. for electric vehicle adoption with the highest reported uptake North America, it could have been even higher. Prior to COVID-19 about one third of British Columbian drivers were considering purchasing an EV; however, a sharp decline in commuting and travel saw 85 per cent put off their purchasing decision.

With the threat of the pandemic lessening, those who delayed their EV purchase are now eager to buy. In fact, about two-thirds of British Columbians are considering purchasing an EV within the next several years – and the majority are looking to purchase one in the next year or two.

The primary drivers for switching to an EV are saving money on gas and protecting the environment. Increasing gas prices continue to be a concern for about 85 per cent of British Columbians.

The other major driver for the switch can be linked to changes in commuting habits. The report indicates commuting by car could increase by about 15 per cent when things return to “normal.”

With the demand for EVs already at an all-time high and 2021 positioned to be another record-breaking year for EV sales in B.C., an “EV bottleneck” is likely post-pandemic. Making matters worse is the worldwide microchip and lithium battery shortage that has delayed EV production by many automakers.

To help make EV ownership a reality, BC Hydro recommends the following tips to beat the rush when buying an EV:

  • Plan and be flexible: EVs are in high demand, so a very specific vehicle might take time to locate. That is why it is crucial to do some planning, short list some models and get on multiple waitlists, even outside your hometown.
  • Buy used: Used EVs are cheaper and available from the same main channels as any other car – private sellers, used car dealers and certified used.
  • Remember it all pays off: The purchasing process may seem daunting, but driving an EV pays off in many ways including:
    • Saving 80 per cent on fuel costs and about $100 a month on maintenance costs compared to a gas-powered vehicle.
    • Lowering your carbon footprint because BC Hydro’s electricity is generated from 96 per cent clean and renewable resources. It also contributes to B.C.’s goal of making the switch to 100 per cent electric-vehicle sales by 2040.
    • Cashing in on the provincial CleanBC Go Electric rebates up to $3,000 on the purchase of an EV, with another $5,000 available through federal rebates.

For more information on buying an EV in B.C., visit

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468

[1] Online survey conducted by Majid Khoury of 800 British Columbians from May 17-19, 2021. Margin of error is +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.