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Driving By Numbers: Canada’s 10 best-selling EVs in 2022’s first half

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Well, kinda-sorta... EV sales reporting is erratic, but these are the top-selling affordable, rebate-applicable EVs Publishing date:

Aug 03, 2022  o  58 minutes ago  o  5 minute read  o  Join the conversation The Tesla Model 3 The Tesla Model 3 Photo by Tesla

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Powered in part by government rebates, motivated to some degree by record fuel prices, and propelled by a steadily growing fleet of available nameplates, sales of rebate-applicable electric vehicles jumped 11 percent in Canada during the first-half of 2022.

Given the fact that the overall market actually slipped by more than 11 percent, the electric vehicle sector's growth rate is even more impressive.

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Valued at £5,000 per electric vehicle, the federal government's subsidy on electric vehicles, known officially as the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program, racked up £87.8 million in spending between January and June of 2022 on EVs alone. That excludes the impact of the program on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which vary between £2,500 and £5,000 in applicable rebates and attracted 10,263 recipients. (It also excludes provincial expenditures in British Columbia, Quebec, and each of the four Atlantic provinces.)

Although a wide variety of premium brand electric vehicles are valued well beyond the price spectrum of the iZEV program, the majority of Canada's EV volume has been produced by rebate-qualifying cars. At least that was true prior to Tesla's Model 3 price increase in late 2021 that removed the most affordable Tesla from rebate contention. Despite the Model 3's current exclusion from the program, thousands of Model 3 customers benefited from rebates in early 2022 due to the timing of their order in 2021.

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As of mid-2022, participation in the federal program requires a passenger car to hit the market with a base MSRP under £55,000, although vehicles in the same model line can be priced up to £65,000 and still qualify. For SUVs, pickups, and vans, those figures rise to £60,000 and £70,000, respectively.

According to Statistics Canada, there were just under 20,000 electric vehicles registered in the first-quarter of 2022. According to Transport Canada, just over 10,000 vehicles were linked to rebates in the first-quarter, which would indicate that the 17,563 electric vehicles sold during the first-half of 2022 accounted for roughly 53 percent of the EVs sold.

But this chronology isn't an exact science. There's a sequence with which automakers report sales figures (which is the basis for our typical sales reporting), distinct timing for Statistics Canada's registration-based timetable, and now Transport Canada's receipt of dealer-filed paperwork for rebate-based "sales" reporting.

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Regardless, we're excited to be able to reveal which vehicles currently control the so-called affordable electric vehicles market.

In an industry where the average new vehicle transaction price is soaring beyond £50,000, perhaps the term "so-called" is increasingly invalid. Affordable is defined differently in 2022. These were Canada's 10 best-selling rebate-applicable electric vehicles in 2022's first six months.

2022 Mazda MX-30 Photo by Jay Kana

10.

Mazda MX-30: 384

Why is the Mazda MX-30 available only at select Mazda retailers in British Columbia and Quebec? Not only do B.C. and Quebec offer significant provincial EV incentives, they also offer an established EV market and a rapid forthcoming rise in the percentage of electric vehicles mandated for sale by automakers operating in their jurisdictions. In 2021, 7 out of every 10 EVs sold in Canada were sold in B.C. and Quebec.

Unfortunately, with only 161 kilometres of estimated range, the MX-30 doesn't stand much of a chance at being a high-volume contender, no matter the province.

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9. Kia Soul EV: 403, down 26 percent

One of three Kias - and one of five members of the Hyundai-Kia conglomerate - to crack the top 10, the Kia Soul EV is the most affordable of the Korean crew.

Priced from £42,995 with an estimated 383 kilometres of range, the Soul EV starts around £20,000 north of an ordinary Soul. Rebates make a world of difference.

8. Kia Niro EV: 425, down 58 percent

After delivering 1,000 electric Niros during the first-half of 2021, Kia's Niro EV volume cratered by more than half in early 2022 as Kia preps a second-generation Niro for launch.

This is just one of three prongs in the Niro lineup. Kia says 1,203 Niros were sold in 2022's first six months. Transport Canada's figures, which again run on a different reporting schedule, suggest 35 percent were electric, 35 percent were plug-in hybrids, and 29 percent were conventional hybrids.

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2022 Kia EV6 Photo by Chris Balcerak

7. Kia EV6: 458

In an era where dealers are crying out for inventory amidst the worst supply chain crisis in modern times, Kia dealers surely wish the EV6 was even half as plentiful on the ground as its platform partner, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. For every EV6 Kia has delivered, Hyundai's moved seven Ioniq 5s.

6.

Nissan Leaf: 590, down 2 percent

The Nissan Leaf initiated the mainstream electric vehicle push more than a decade ago, perhaps not coincidentally timed with GM's ideologically distinct push with the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. PHEVs persist, but the Volt is dead. The Leaf lives (for now), but Nissan hasn't really been able to harness its heritage in any meaningful way.

Affordability is now more of a Leaf hallmark than ever before - 2023 pricing starts just under £40,000.

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2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Photo by Justin Pritchard

5. Volkswagen ID.4: 983

Remember the diesel emissions scandal of 2015?

Volkswagen is working hard to fade that distant memory by diving headlong into electric vehicles. The electric Golf was a non-factor, but the wagon-like ID.4 is making a splash at the kind of price point and range provisions that helped kick off the top-ranked Tesla. The Volkswagen ID.4 sets the stage, but it'll be the retro-futuristic 2024 ID.

Buzz that steals the limelight in Volkswagen's growing EV range.

4. Chevrolet Bolt: 1,042, down 68 percent

Encompassing the Bolt and Bolt EUV, Chevrolet's first fully electric vehicle provides an estimated 397-417 kilometres of range for less than £40,000 before rebates are factored in. An extended sale stoppage greatly hindered Bolt volume in the early part of the year, but Transport Canada issued 499 rebates for Bolts in June alone, indicating a drastically different second-half for Chevrolet's electric volume.

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  1. A dive into the 3-year ownership costs of EVs offers surprises

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  2. Canadian EV sales surge in the first quarter of 2022

    Canadian EV sales surge in the first quarter of 2022

3. Hyundai Kona Electric: 2,227, down 32 percent

Part of a Kona lineup that controls the Canadian subcompact crossover market and ranks among Canada's 10 best-selling vehicles, it appears as though the electric version of the Hyundai Kona accounts for roughly one out of every six Kona sales in Canada. The £46,450 Kona Electric offers 415 kilometres of range.

2.

Hyundai Ioniq 5: 3,226

Not to be confused with the Kia Niro-related Hyundai Ioniq (which grabbed 28 EV rebates and 140 PHEV rebates in 2022's first-half), the Ioniq 5 is Hyundai's boxy, retro take on the Kia EV6. Staggeringly stylish, the Ioniq 5 starts at £47,550. At 488 kilometres of estimated range, the Preferred Long Range version of the Ioniq 5 also qualifies for the rebate.

The Tesla Model 3 Photo by Tesla

1.

Tesla Model 3: 7,054, up 23 percent

Keep in mind, this doesn't necessarily mean 7,054 Tesla Model 3s were sold in Canada in the first-half of 2022. These were just the right-priced Model 3s that qualified for the rebate and were ordered before the Model 3 became ineligible for the rebate. Nevertheless, the 7,054 deliveries highlight Tesla's current grip on the EV market.

Even the second-ranked Hyundai Ioniq 5 trails the Model 3 by more than 3,800 units.

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