If you’re one of the roughly six in 10 Canadians who’s thinking about buying electric next time around, you’ll be pleased to know that 2023 is awash in new options.
“From 2021 to 2022, we went from 20 different EV models available in North America to over 40. By the end of this year, we’ll be probably close to doubling that again,” predicted Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst for e-mobility at U.S.-based consulting firm Guidehouse Insights.
In 2023, as has been the trend for several years, new EVs will come in a broader array of shapes and sizes, with faster recharging capability and more driving range. Tesla is still the brand to beat in terms of EV sales, but the competition is heating up.
“For more affordable EVs, 500 kilometres [of range] is probably going to be the high end of what we’ll see for the next couple of years,” Abuelsamid said. These days, many of the least expensive EVs can go 400 kilometres on a single charge, whereas in 2019, plenty of models offered only 200 or 300 kilometres. The extra range should help alleviate would-be EV owners’ anxiety around range and charging.
EV trends for 2023: More stock, lower prices
The new 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV, for example, has a manufacturer-estimated range of 400 to 480 kilometres, depending on the model. The 2RS version, with the full 480 kilometres of range, will be available this fall in “limited quantities,” according to the fine print on Chevrolet’s website. Shoppers will have to wait until spring 2024 for the entry-level 1LT model that offers a solid combination of 400 kilometres of range and a price of about $38,000.
Kia’s all-new 2023 Niro EV, a subcompact SUV, offers 407 kilometres of estimated range for $44,995. Nissan’s larger Ariya SUV will deliver 348 kilometres for $52,998 in basic trim; for $59,498, buyers can step up to the version with about 490 kilometres of range.
Prices for Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 6 have yet to be announced, but the brand’s aerodynamic new sedan delivers a range of 435 to 581 kilometres, depending on the model.
“At the premium end of the market, we’re going to be seeing more vehicles that get you up closer to 560 or 700 kilometres of range,” Abuelsamid said.
The mid-sized Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan is slated to arrive in February, priced from $85,600 with 491 kilometres of range. The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST First Edition, a full-size luxury pickup, costs a whopping $119,948 but has a driving range of 640 kilometres.
In addition to the added driving range, new EVs will increasingly offer faster charging as well.
“What you’ll see is 100-kilowatt charging speeds will be the new minimum standard, and more vehicles at the affordable end [of the market] will offer 150- or 170-kilowatt charging,” Abuelsamid said. “At the higher end, vehicles will get into the 250-to-300-kilowatt range.” On a long drive, that translates into less time spent waiting at charging stations.
The upcoming Silverado RST, for example, will have 350-kilowatt fast-charging capability that can add 160 kilometres of driving range in 10 minutes of charging, according to the company. (The catch is that there still are only a handful of public chargers capable of delivering that much juice that quickly.)
It’s not a coincidence that so many of these EVs are pickup trucks and SUVs. Combined, compact SUVs and full-size pickups make up well over one-third of the entire new vehicle market in Canada, said Robert Karwel, senior manager for J.D. Power Canada’s automotive practice.
GMC, for example, will launch an electric Sierra pickup next year, while Chevrolet will start selling less-expensive versions of its Silverado EV. The upcoming Chevrolet Blazer EV is aimed squarely at the popular mid-size SUV market. It offers up to 515 kilometres of range and is slated to arrive this fall.
Lexus will introduce its first battery-electric SUV, the RZ, later this year. But, like Toyota’s bZ4X SUV, the Lexus will initially only be sold in British Columbia and Quebec. (B.C. and Quebec are strong EV markets, in large part because of provincial rebates for consumers and EV sales quotas that manufacturers must meet or pay a penalty).
Stephen Beatty, vice-president of Toyota Canada, said the bZ4X, which has a range of up to 406 kilometres on the front-wheel-drive version, won’t be available in the rest of Canada this year, but the company will eventually expand its sales territory as production ramps up.
The Subaru Solterra, however, which is built on the same platform as the bZ4X and has standard all-wheel drive and 360 kilometres of range, is available nationally.
California-based upstart Rivian should finally start delivering its luxurious R1T pickup and three-row R1S SUV in significant quantities in Canada this year. And, more affordable three-row electric SUVs are coming soon in the form of the Hyundai Ioniq 7 and Kia EV9.
Don’t get your hopes up for the Tesla Cybertruck, though. Originally slated for late 2021, mass production of Tesla’s pickup is now scheduled for 2024.
To be sure, Tesla still dominates the EV market. It sold nearly 42,000 vehicles in Canada through the first nine months of last year, according to S&P Mobility. But, with rivals launching so many new all-electric vehicles, competition is getting fierce, and that’s only a good thing for drivers.
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