Editor’s Edition: When will electric cars take over?

Electric cars are getting a big charge as governments and automakers look to make good on emissions cutting promises. Case and point, the recent General Motors Super Bowl ad featuring an enraged Will Ferrell scoffing at Norway’s edge in getting EVs on the road.

But when will most drivers plug in rather than fill up? Tom Rand, the managing partner at ArcTern Ventures, expects electric car adoption will accelerate as Hollywood stars and “America’s own sense of exceptionalism” get behind the EV push. He believes Canada will follow its southern neighbour’s lead.

Ottawa wants every new vehicle sold to be able to drive without producing CO2 emissions by 2040. Rand said government subsidies are not the way to make that happen. He favours investment in charging infrastructure that will make consumers more confident in buying Teslas, and their competing brands. Rand also believes hydrogen is irrelevant in the passenger car segment, and anticipates many drivers will skip over hybrids in favour of fully electric cars.

Rand also discussed the recent Supreme Court decision backing Ottawa’s carbon pricing policies. He said the $30 per tonne standard is a small “rounding error” in terms of cost, and is skeptical of the federal Conservatives forthcoming climate action plan.

On the corporate side, Rand said their needs to be more oversight of companies claiming to pursue net-zero emissions. After all, if Mark Carney can slip up in communicating carbon cutting measures, it’s likely more key figures will as well.

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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