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Zero Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative

The Zero Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI) supports projects that aim to increase awareness, knowledge and public confidence in zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and public charging and refueling infrastructure. The ZEVAI helps fund outreach, education, and capacity-building activities, ultimately enabling greater adoption of ZEVs by Canadians in all regions of the country.

Light-duty vehicle stream

Status: Call for project proposals closed August 18, 2022.

Supports projects that aim to address awareness and knowledge gaps among Canadians on light-duty ZEVs, ZEV technologies, and battery-powered micro-mobility solutions.

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicle stream

Status: Request for information closed September 12, 2022.

Call for project proposals expected in late 2022.

Gauged the interest and readiness levels of projects that would advance knowledge, awareness, and confidence in zero emission or lower carbon medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

What are zero emission vehicles?

ZEVs are vehicles that do not produce polluting exhaust, including fully battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Given that ZEVs are “fuelled” and maintained differently than conventional vehicles, Canadians are unfamiliar with how they work. They need proof that a ZEV can provide an equal or better driving experience and value when compared with a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle.

Nationwide surveys repeatedly show that this lack of awareness, knowledge, and public confidence is a key barrier to adoption of ZEVs on a wider scale. Therefore, addressing gaps in ZEV knowledge and experience for consumers and businesses is critical to supporting Canadians through the decision-making process for purchasing a ZEV.

Importance of decarbonising freight

The decarbonisation of existing freight carrying trucks and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs), the bulk of which move freight between and within cities, is key to achieving Canada’s climate obligations. With roughly 130,000 sales annually, replacing the 2.6 million MHDVs currently in operation with zero-emission alternatives will take time, as many of these vehicles remain on the road for 15 years or longer. Canada must take steps to decarbonise the fleet of today, while priming the market for electrification.

There is low awareness and confidence in zero emission and lower-carbon MHDVs among business and fleet operators, the vast majority (over 99%) of whom are small companies that face tight profit margins. While ZEV alternatives are becoming more widely available for many urban applications (e.g., buses, return-to-base delivery vehicles), additional challenges must be overcome for long-haul freight (e.g., technology readiness and inadequate charging/refuelling infrastructure).

Background

In 2022, the Government of Canada issued a plan for reducing emissions: 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy. In it, the Government reinforced its commitment to fight climate change, create jobs, and ensure that Canadians are global leaders in the transition to clean industries and technologies.

The plan is an ambitious and achievable sector-by-sector approach. With it, the Government aims to reach its new climate target of cutting emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to put us on track toward our goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

On-road transportation accounts for about 20 percent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing transportation emissions is critical to achieving the Government’s more ambitious climate change commitments and is consistent with the global shift toward ZEVs.

To meet that critical need, the Government has set a mandatory target for all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks sales to be ZEVs by 2035. In addition, the Government will develop a MHDV regulation to require that all MHDV sales be ZEVs by 2040 for a subset of vehicle types, based on feasibility.

The Government is investing an additional $3 billion to ensure Canada reaches these goals. To provide certainty about the path to getting there, the Government will pursue a combination of investments and regulations to help Canadians and industry in this transition.

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