What do Canadian EV drivers think

CAA conducted the largest-ever survey of Canadian EV drivers to better understand their preferences and experiences with their electric vehicles.

Over 16,000 EV drivers were sampled across all provinces and territories.

Scroll down to learn about the main findings of the spring 2023 study.

Ownership Satisfaction

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97% of EV owners would buy again

When asked if EV owners would buy another EV in the future, a whopping 97% of respondents stated that they were either likely, or highly likely to purchase another electric vehicle.

There were no significant differences between BEV and PHEV or by province.


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Electric beats gas across the board

Compared to their experience with gas/hybrid vehicles, EV drivers rate their vehicles consistently higher on 3 key ownership experiences:

Overall driving enjoyment: 73%
Operation cost: 84%
Quietness of the ride: 85%

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Would Recommend

When asked if they would recommend an EV to a friend, Canadian drivers give EVs extraordinarily high Net Promoter Scores, all falling into the “world class” category. 

Battery-electric vehicle drivers gave their EVs a NPS score of 87, slightly higher than plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Concerns about owning an electric vehicle before and after purchase

We asked drivers to rate the level of their pre-purchase concerns, then asked them to rate their post-purchase concerns once they had actual ownership experience. 

In all cases, ingoing concerns dropped dramatically in all 14 categories once the driver had hands-on ownership experience. Concerns about public charging availability, however, remain relatively higher than all other issues. 

Chart: BEV: Concerns about owning an EV pre- and post- purchase
Chart: PHEV: Concerns about owning an EV pre- and post- purchase

Curious about owning an EV?

CAA has a Buyer's Guide with easy-to-understand information on the critical elements of EV ownership, such as cost and availability of EV models, charging and an interactive EV finder to find your best match.

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Public Charging Satisfaction

The top concern of current EV drivers in Canada is the availability of public charging. More than four out of every 10 (44%) EV drivers say they worry about a lack of public charging.

Canadian EV drivers were asked about 6 key markers of satisfaction in relation to public level 2 charging stations, and public fast charging stations: charger reliability, location convenience, speed of charger, ease of use, location safety, and ease of payment. 

Public Level 2 charging stations

In all cases, drivers rated Level 2 charging satisfaction positively in over 53% of cases.

However, for charger reliability, location convenience, and speed of charger, more than 1-in-4 drivers rated Level 2 charging satisfaction negatively.

What do "levels" mean?

Public DC fast charging stations

Net satisfaction levels are much higher for public fast charging when compared to public level 2 charging.

The sole exception was location convenience, which a quarter of EV drivers saying they were unsatisfied with the location of a fast charger.


Which EV's can use fast charging?

Long Distance Travel

Most EV drivers (67%) still own a gas vehicle, which they are more likely to use for longer journeys.

We identified BEV drivers who also had access to a gas vehicle at home and asked them to gauge their confidence in public fast charging infrastructure for the purpose of taking long distance journeys:

Indeed, 54% of drivers said they are confident they can always find a public fast charger when taking a long EV trip. 

Only 36% of  drivers agree that it’s preferable to take a gas car instead of their EV on a long journey.

Fall colors along the Ice Fields Parkway in Banff National Park, Jasper National Park

Regions matter

BEV drivers’ confidence in finding fast-charging on a long journey varies by province, from a high of 68% in Québec to a low of 34% in Saskatchewan.

Chart: BEV driver confidence in long-distance fast-charging infrastructure: by province

The "Home Charging" Challenge

Chart: EV adoption is low for drivers who live in multi-unit dwellings and/or rent
(i. Percentage of ev drivers in each type of dwelling. A percentage of ev drivers that rent v.s own their home)

People who live in multi-unit dwellings (like apartments or condominiums) represent a much smaller percentage of EV adopters in Canada than those who live in single family homes.

Similarly, renters are much less likely to be EV drivers, compared to those who own their homes.

Multi-unit dwellings often have communal, open parking areas where it is difficult to reliably place electrical outlets (especially higher-power 208-240V outlets) or to hardwire chargers. Renters, on the other hand, often need landlord approval to install a charger, and many drivers are unwilling to pay to install a charger in a home they do not own.


Drivers in multi-unit dwellings are much more likely to have no home charging

Over 1-in-5 Canadian EV drivers who live in multi-unit homes have no home charging at all.

In sharp contrast, home charging is nearly universal for those living in single-family dwellings.

Drivers with no home charging graphic: Single Family Dwelling 5%. Multi-unit Dwelling 22%

Purchase Incentives

The degree to which drivers received EV incentives varied widely from province to province.

Plugshare Purchase Incentives Graph

Incentives adoption was strong in all provinces

Drivers in all provinces felt a powerful influence from incentives.

Plugshare Purchase Incentives Graph

Charging Behavior

30% of EV owners say they spend their time charging outside the home.


The top source monthly of e-kilometers for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle drivers is Level 1 (110-120V) home charging (46%). Only 34% of PHEV e-kilometers come from Level 2 home charging.


In contrast, most battery-electric vehicles monthly e-kilometers come from Level 2 home charging (53%), with Level 1 home charging being much less common (19%).


Workplace charging is still comparatively rare for both PHEVs and BEVs, and this may be in part due to the post-COVID work-at-home trend away from daily commutes.

Chart: Source of battery-driven kilometers

Purchaser Profiles: Canadian EV purchasing trends


92% of EV drivers own or finance their vehicles

Canadian EV drivers overwhelmingly own/finance their EVs, while only 7% choose to lease and 1% drive a company electric vehicle.

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The majority of drivers are still on their first EV

82% of Canadian EV drivers responded that they are still on their first EV acquisition. 

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Canadians prefer to buy new

While 83% of Canadian EV drivers bought their EV new, 17% bought used.

Drivers in the Atlantic Provinces and Manitoba were most likely to acquire a used EV at 24%.

Want to read more?

The full PlugShare report, including additional data tables and source information can be downloaded below.

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