“If customer psychological barriers will not be urgently addressed — affordability, range anxiety [and] charging infrastructure — mass adoption won’t be possible.
“To progress as fast because the auto industry is remitted to maneuver, there must be an enormous coordination effort, and that effort must be led by government.”
Ottawa shared its plans to implement a national ZEV mandate in December. Under draft laws expected to be finalized in the approaching months, ZEVs must make up at the least 20 per cent of every automakers’ sales in Canada by model yr 2026. The figure rises to 60 per cent of sales by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2035.
“There is no such thing as a doubt the industry and market dynamics will find their balance over time … The actual challenge, in my opinion, are the transformation years resulting in 2030,” Leclerc said.
To provide average Canadian automotive buyers the flexibility to go electric in that time-frame, governments must step in with more assistance, Leclerc added.
“Because it stands today, the common transaction price for an EV in Canada is within the range of what was considered a luxury vehicle not too way back, [which is] well beyond the technique of average Canadians.”
Ottawa currently offers an as much as $5,000 incentive for ZEV buyers, while British Columbia, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces offer additional rebates of between $2,500 and $7,000.
More government support for an auto supply chain rapidly transitioning to EV production, in addition to further backing for Canada’s “woefully underdeveloped” charging infrastructure, will even be needed if Ottawa wants to succeed in its ZEV targets, Leclerc said.
HONDA A ‘LAGGARD’
For Honda’s part, Leclerc acknowledged the automaker has been seen as a “laggard” on electrification. He blamed the momentum behind battery-electric technology, and away from wider climate targets for the perception.
“Things have modified — from a give attention to greenhouse gas reduction objectives, to a regulatory path focused on the usage of a selected technology, and targets and implementation timelines to push that technology to market.
“Prior to the proposed [ZEV] laws at play today, our plan was to make use of a measured cadence of technologies, first consisting of hybrids, followed by plug-in hybrids, after which moving to electric vehicles as market conditions and consumer acceptance allowed for mass adoption.”
While Honda has been a longtime leader amongst its peers on fleet efficiency, Leclerc said the corporate is compressing typical vehicle development timelines in response to ZEV mandates.
The corporate, which has no battery-electric vehicles available in Canada today, plans to launch the Prologue in partnership with General Motors in 2024, in addition to its next-generation fuel cell-electric vehicle based on the CR-V. A variety of BEVs based on the corporate’s own EV architecture will follow starting in 2026.
Honda also overhauled its global organizational structure Jan. 24, making a consolidated division for electrification technologies in a bid to hurry development.