Transforming Ontario into Global Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Hub

On October 8, the provincial and federal governments announced their commitment to Ford Motor Company of Canada’s investment in its Oakville Assembly Complex. This project, valued at $1.8 billion, will include federal and provincial contributions of $295 million each. This will help secure 5,400 well-paying middle-class jobs across Ford’s production workforce in Canada and grow the green economy by supporting electric vehicle production, especially in Southern Ontario where thousands of Canadians are employed across the auto supply chain.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to Canada’s attractiveness as a destination for clean technology, talent, and infrastructure in the automotive industry. Companies like Ford are helping accelerate our transition to a low-carbon, clean-growth economy, which will help protect our environment, drive innovation, and create many good middle class jobs.” – The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Today’s investment from Ford Canada is historic. It will ensure our province continues to lead North America and the world in automotive manufacturing and innovation, while boosting our competitiveness in this key sector. Together with our federal partners, we are proud to invest almost $300 million to support the production of next-generation, made-in-Ontario vehicles and secure thousands of good-paying jobs across the province for years to come.” – The Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario

OSPE has been advocating to both levels of government for the acceleration of the electrification of the transportation system, which includes the adoption of electronic vehicles (EVs). Ontario should work towards a safe, green, innovative, and integrated transportation system that is able to support a clean environment, while boosting trade, economic growth, and public safety. Policies should seek to develop and foster a transportation system that works for current and future generations.

Electric vehicles also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take advantage of the province’s largely low carbon electricity grid. By increasing the uptake of EVs in Ontario and encouraging recharging during evenings, EVs will in effect store Ontario’s surplus energy supply, which will significantly reduce the amount of surplus energy that is sold for a loss to external jurisdictions and/or curtailed, which is currently costing Ontario energy ratepayers approximately $1 billion per year.

Although this is a positive first step, OSPE believes that more can be done.

The Ontario Government cancelled the EV incentive program, which resulted in a 53% decrease of EV purchases in the first half of 2019. Ontario is the only province in Canada not experiencing an increase in EV sales. With the current pandemic, the government has the opportunity of rectifying this decision, and supporting a clean growing sector right here in our province.

Some of the uptake barriers encountered with EVs, such as a shorter range, longer recharge times, and a higher upfront cost, can be addressed by smart government action. Some jurisdictions, like California, have committed to achieving a “tipping point” of electric vehicle adoption by enacting EV sale mandates requiring automakers to sell a specified number of EVs per year, as percentage of sales. In Quebec, such action has resulted in a 131% percent increase in one year.

To ensure Ontario accelerates the electrification of its transportation system, the province should:

  1. Develop and implement an incentive program for electric vehicles, until mass adoption “tipping point” is achieved.
  2. Enact an EV sales mandate like the ones established in Quebec and California, requiring automakers to sell a minimum percentage of electric vehicles.
  3. Permit free or discounted access for EVs to all tolled highways in Ontario.
  4. Establish a robust network of electric vehicle charging stations across Ontario.
  5. Amend the Building Code to ensure that there is a minimum percentage of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) in residential and non-residential buildings, including condo and apartment buildings.

What do you think about this recent announcement? Let us know in the comments!

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