Canada to ban new combustion engine cars by 2035. Here is how they'll do it

The deadline is 2040 for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
Can Emir
Polluting trafficssuaphoto/iStock

As governments work to fight against climate change, banning combustion engine vehicles could be one of the best ways of doing so. On the other hand, many automakers already announced their commitment to stop manufacturing vehicles with combustion engines by the mid-2030s.

The latest addition to the countries that have set targets to reach zero emissions is Canada. The country has set a goal to reach net-zero emissions as a nation by 2050, and decrease its 2005 emission levels by 40 to 45 percent by 2030.

In order to reach that goal, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced back in June, 2021 that Canada will ban the sales of new combustion engine passenger cars and will mandate all new passenger cars to be zero-emission models by 2035, as part of the country’s fight against climate change.

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Canada recently published its Emissions Reduction Plan to reach zero emissions. This includes funds to support renewable energy projects, shrink oil industry emissions, and develop "nature-based climate solutions."

Canada aims for 20 percent of new vehicle sales to be zero-emission by 2026 and to increase this ratio to 60 percent by 2030, meaning the country will gradually enforce this plan on its citizens.

It is not clear how exactly this goal will be achieved, as it was not stated whether automakers would be mandated to manufacture more electric cars or if they would have to limit the volume of their sold cars as electric vehicles.

As for commercial vehicles, Canada is targeting 35 percent of its medium and heavy-duty vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. By 2040, that percentage will be up to 100 percent.

Canada is offering $1.36 billion as an incentive for customers to buy more electric and other zero-emission vehicles.  

The current federal program offers up to a $4,010 discount for EVs, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell cars that meet the varying price, seat, and battery requirements. Considering there were 1.64 million vehicles sold in Canada in 2021, the said incentives would help the country reach its goal.

Nevertheless, Canada is well-known for its auto manufacturing plants and the transition to zero-emission vehicles will potentially cause a loss in sales.

To reach zero emissions in accordance with the fight against climate change seems to be a long, hard slog. But as automakers move away from combustion engines and countries limit or ban the sales of combustion vehicles, there is a silver lining in sight.

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