10 Best-selling electric vehicles in Canada in 2022

This ‘affordable’ list of electric vehicles takes Transport Canada’s incentive structure into consideration

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Transport Canada’s Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program shelled out $195 million to buyers of electric vehicles in 2022, a 10-per-cent increase from 2021 spending levels.

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It’s fair to assume that, given an industry-wide supply crunch that honed in on electric vehicles in particularly severe fashion, Canadian consumers would have been happy to claim even more than 38,920 rebates had availability permitted. There were 23 different BEV nameplates — not factoring in plug-in hybrids — eligible for at least a portion of the year. It’s not until you factor in the regulatory environment changes (higher price allowances were permitted last April) and the evolving price points of some electric vehicles that you discover some of the reasons for wild seasonal shifts in deliveries for certain models.

Tesla’s Model 3, for example, collected only 1 per cent of its Transport Canada rebates in the fourth-quarter of 2022 as orders pre-dating the Model 3’s ineligibility had largely all been filled. Yet in early 2023, we can expect far more Model 3 rebates issued thanks to Tesla price cuts.

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In short, this compilation of Canada’s 10 best-selling “affordable” electric vehicles in 2022 isn’t an exhaustive look at every EV’s 2022 sales performance, nor does it account for every electric vehicle sold in Canada in 2022. It does, however, reflect the heart of the market: Transport Canada’s incentive structure issues $5,000 in-store rebates (after tax) for cars priced under $55,000 and higher-trim variations of those cars up to $65,000 plus SUVs/vans/pickups under $60,000 along with higher-trim variations of those light trucks up to $70,000. Only purchases that fit into those categories are included among these top sellers.

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10. Mini Cooper Electric: 833

Ahead of the 11th-ranked Mazda MX-30 by only 51 units, the electric version of Mini’s distinctive Cooper posted a 71-per-cent year-over-year increase in iZEV rebates issued in 2022. BMW Canada reported 2,327 Cooper sales overall, meaning the BEV is now responsible for roughly one-third of Mini passenger car volume.

Polestar 2
Polestar 2 Photo by Polestar

9. Polestar 2: 1,316

Unfamiliar with Polestar’s minimalistic nomenclature? The Polestar 2 shouldn’t be confused with the Polestar 3 (a small SUV) or the Polestar 1 (a high-performance coupe). The Polestar 2 is a high-riding five-door hatch priced just under the magical $55,000 borderline for rebate eligibility. Polestar is an obviously Swedish Volvo offshoot, but the Polestar 2 actually comes out of a factory in China.

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8. Kia EV6: 1,342

During a year in which Kia’s previous electric efforts all but fell off the map, the EV6 was central to Kia’s efforts in the BEV arena. In 2021, the Soul EV and Niro EV were responsible for over 3,500 iZEV rebates. That fell to just 1,095 in 2022, leaving the EV6 to make up the slack. It’s certainly qualified to do so, but it’s not produced in sufficient quantity to do so. The EV6’s platform partner from Hyundai generated more than 3.5 times the volume.

7. Nissan Leaf: 1,469

Canada’s first mainstream electric vehicle still produces sufficient volume to rank among the top sellers, but the Nissan Leaf is far short of the podium. The Leaf is Nissan’s only alternative-powertrain effort, at least until the Ariya crossover produces meaningful volume. Yet it’s apparent that Nissan isn’t keen on partial solutions such as hybrids or plug-in hybrids. Perhaps that approach would fly if Nissan was capitalizing on the EV market, but in 2022, the Leaf generated only 2 per cent of Nissan Canada sales and accounted for less than 4 per cent of the iZEV rebates paid out.

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VW ID.4
VW ID.4 Photo by Volkswagen

6. Volkswagen ID.4: 1,822

Remember TDI? Volkswagen’s 2015 diesel scandal barely appears in the rearview mirror as we tabulate the sales success of the brand’s first dedicated electric vehicle in the Canadian market. (True, there was an e-Golf, but it was a low-volume stop-gap effort.) The VW ID.4 was responsible for 399 rebates in 2021; 357-per-cent more than that in 2022. Volkswagen’s next major EV effort for Canada comes in the form of the vintage-inspired ID.Buzz, which will be responsible for answering two questions. First, do Canadians want electric Volkswagens? Second, do Canadians want vans?

5. Ford Mustang Mach-E: 1,887

Made eligible for the iZEV program in April, Ford actually produced just under half of its rebate-eligible Mustang Mach-E sales in the fourth-quarter of 2022. At that Q4 pace, the Mach-E would actually generate around 3,500 rebates annually. For the time being, the gap between the fifth-ranked Ford and the elite quartet is substantial. Ford reported a total of 6,048 Mach-E sales in 2022.

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2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Photo by Jonathan Yarkony

4. Hyundai Ioniq 5: 4,807

Clearly now a design-led company, the remarkably boxy Hyundai Ioniq 5 arrived a little more than one year before the remarkably curvy Hyundai Ioniq 6. But can the Ioniq 6 sedan repeat the Ioniq 5 utility’s success? The 4,807 rebates secured by the Ioniq 5 drove the Hyundai brand to more than 10,000 total Canadian EV sales in 2022, just under 1 out of every 10 Hyundais sold. (Hyundai actually reported 5,037 Ioniq 5 sales in 2022.)

3. Hyundai Kona Electric: 5,352

The electric version of Canada’s best-selling subcompact crossover accounts for a little more than one-in-five Hyundai Kona sales. Kona Electric rebate volume dipped 22 per cent in 2022, however, likely the by-product of both limited supply and the attention-hogging of the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

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2. Chevrolet Bolt: 5,674

With its Canadian sales volume skewing 59/41 in favour of the Bolt EUV, Chevrolet’s high-volume electric nameplate accounted for 15 per cent of all iZEV rebates in 2022. That’s actually up from 13 per cent a year ago thanks to a 19-per-cent year-over-year increase in rebates issued. The Bolt is soon to lose the EV limelight at GM’s Bowtie brand as the electric Silverado and electric Equinox appear as EV options in much higher-volume segments.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 Photo by Tesla

1. Tesla Model 3: 10,922

Despite limited rebate eligibility for much of 2022 — the bulk of Tesla Model 3 rebates issued in 2022 occurred because of orders in 2021 — Canada’s best-selling electric vehicle continues to be the Tesla Model 3. In 2021, the federal government actually reported 15,841 rebates for the Model 3. As for 2022, the math isn’t hard: the government of Canada spent $54.6 million to help people acquire Teslas.

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