Dealerships are key to EV sales and we’re celebrating the great ones!

A Blog by Cara Clairman, President and CEO of Plug’n Drive


Two years ago Plug’n Drive approached the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) with the idea of running an EV Dealership Awards program. Dealerships are crucial to the sale of electric vehicles; they’re the first place customers go for a test drive and the final place where papers are signed, keys are exchanged and the road of an electric car driver begins.

CEA immediately jumped on board and we set to work forming the criteria, assembling an expert panel of judges and letting Canada know nominations were open.  The Awards are now in their second year and have spread across Canada from coast-to-coast.

But why are the EV Dealership Awards so important?

When we hit upon the idea, we had just completed an EV dealership study. 20 secret shoppers were trained and 24 EV certified dealerships were surveyed. We were looking for the availability of messaging (pamphlets, posters, etc.), the knowledge and enthusiasm of sales people and the sales approach and attitude among other factors.

What we discovered is that cars weren’t often available for test drives, promotional materials weren’t easy to find and sales people had limited knowledge about the incentives, environmental benefits, economic benefits and unique features of electric cars.  And to be honest, it’s understandable.  These cars are new and occupy a tiny niche in terms of the cars currently available for sale. Sales staff want to sell the cars they have, and often that doesn’t include electrics.

So instead of criticizing the dealers, we thought we should instead reward the great ones!  The truth is that selling electric cars requires a different approach.. Electric cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save drivers thousands of dollars a year on fuel and contribute to a sustainable transportation and energy model.  And that’s why the EV Dealership Awards are so important; they recognize those dealerships that understand why using electricity for fuel makes sense and there are keen to let the world know.

The 2015 winners all bring an innovative approach to the sale of electric cars.

  • Motorize Auto Direct in Sidney, British Columbia: Motorize Auto Direct has established a donation program based on referrals that is helping to install public charging stations.
  • Bourgeois Chevrolet in Rawdon, Québec: Bourgeois Chevrolet lets potential customers take an extended test drive of a few days.
  • Green Rock E.V.S in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland: Green Rock E.V.S provided Dr. David Suzuki and the Blue Dot Tour Volunteers with six battery electric cars and six plug-in hybrid electric cars to create a PR buzz.


These winners show that electric cars don’t need to be the pink elephant on the sales floor. When consumers are armed with awareness and understanding, electric cars sell themselves. Congratulations to 2015’s winners! They’re helping to make an all-electric future come true.

We’ll see you in 2016!


Electric Vehicles: Helping Ontario Reduce GHG Emissions – A Plug’n Drive Report

Last week, Plug’n Drive published a report on how electric vehicles (EV) can fit into Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan by helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector. You can download the full report at Electric Vehicles: Helping Ontario Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Here’s a summary of our findings:


Ontario is calling for GHG reductions of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% reductions by 2050. Ontario has made significant progress lowering emissions by phasing out coal-fired electricity. However, emissions from the transportation sector have continued to grow and account for 34% of all GHG emissions in Ontario.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions By Sector
Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector (2012) – Ontario Environmental Commissioner

The Threat of Gasoline:

There are more than 7.6 Million light duty vehicles in Ontario using more than 16 Billion litres of gasoline per year. That’s close to 6,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Those 16 Billion litres emit more than 37 Mega-tonnes of GHG emissions, the equivalent of 4.9 million elephants, every year. The writing is in the air…

How Electric Vehicles Help:

Plug’n Drive estimates that a driver can reduce their GHG emissions by as much as 67-95% by switching to an EV and using Ontario’s clean electricity for fuel.

CO2 Emissions By Vehicle Type
Carbon Dioxide Emissions per 100km Driven in Ontario

As of February 2015, there were more than 3,825 electric vehicles in Ontario with the potential to offset as much as 12,910 tonnes of GHG emissions and reduce gasoline usage by as much as 5.8 million litres per year.

Electric Vehicle sales today represent just 0.05% of car sales in Ontario, but sales have increased each year since the Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan LEAF were introduced in 2011. Plug’n Drive undertook an analysis of five EV sales penetration scenarios:

  1. Status Quo – 0.05% sales rate through to 2050;
  2. Sales increase 10% annually to 2020 and stabilize at 1% through to 2050;
  3. Sales increase 25% annually to 2020 and stabilize at 2.4% through to 2050;
  4. Sales increase 50% annually to 2020 and stabilize at 8.7% through to 2050;
  5. Sales increase 100% annually to 2020 and stabilize at 32.5% through to 2050.
Electric Vehicle Sales and Emissions Reductions By Scenario
Electric Vehicle Sales and Emissions Reductions by Scenario 2015-2050

As you can see, in each scenario the GHG reductions from EVs is significant and EVs can play a key part in helping Ontario reduce its dependence on oil.

Next Steps:

To ensure the success of EVs in Ontario, Plug’n Drive has put forth several recommendations to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change:

  1. Implement a price on carbon either through cap and trade or a carbon tax
  2. Continue the Electric Vehicle Incentive program
  3. Accelerate the deployment of a public charging stations by implementing an incentive program as has been done in Québec and British Columbia
  4. Provide an incentive for off-peak charging by introducing a ‘super low’ rate during off-peak hours when the GHG emissions from electricity generation are lowest
  5. Revise the Building Code Act, 1992 and the Condominium Act, 1998 to make installing charging stations in multi-residential units easier
  6. With less gasoline being purchased, consider a replacement for lost gas tax, such as taxing by kilometre driven or implementing a carbon tax
  7. Survey Canada’s EV drivers to better understand what influences drivers to switch to an EV
  8. Research end-of-life applications for used EV batteries, such as recycling them or reusing them for energy storage
  9. Provide an incentive to Ontario’s municipalities that make EVs a part of their fleets.

The full report is available for free download at Electric Vehicles: Helping Ontario Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.