Our frustrating time trying to buy an electric vehicle

There are several reasons why electric vehicle sales in Canada are behind other countries. One thing my family is having a hard time with is the dealers.

We've had several issues with dealers

An electric vehicle charging station is seen at the Volkswagen display during the media day at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren - RC11A364AF50
An electric vehicle charging station at the Volkswagen display at the 2019 Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Good morning commuters!

I'm gonna rant a bit here.

Electric vehicles outsold gas and diesel models in Norway for the first time ever in April this year, accounting for 58.4 per cent of all vehicle sales.

In Canada, less than 10 per cent of new cars being sold are considered an EV.

There are a bunch of reasons for this, but I think the most frustrating is the dealers themselves.

We're trying to buy an electric vehicle at my home. Or, rather, my wife is trying to buy one. She's never bought a car on her own before — at least not from a dealer.

She's actually been asked once if her husband was on board.

The other doozie was when she told the salesman she didn't like the look of a particular model from the back, so he told her she wouldn't see that from behind the wheel.

He actually said that.

Supply issues

Another dealer couldn't get the car we wanted. We gave them a deposit and waited months. No calls, no updates.

When we forced the issue they told my wife someone had recently cancelled their order for one and we could have that one instead.

The catch? It was more expensive (more than $10,000 more), has less range, and is "space green" coloured.

When she looked at the car in question, my wife decided she didn't want to be tied to a space green, crazy-expensive car for at least seven years.

The dealer told her she could have it "wrapped."


A number of salesmen even tried to sell her the gas model instead.

Then there's the limited-supply $5,000 rebate currently offered by the federal government.

Dealers want to use that against the cost of the car. We don't. We'd rather have the cash.

So, Canada. If we want to actually sell electric vehicles and approach numbers even remotely close to those in Norway, get some stock.

Have a great day.

If you have a traffic or commuter gripe about driving, cycling or being a pedestrian commuter — anything from problem intersections, to parking, to inefficient routes — send it to Doug at

And remember, you can share what you see on the roads with me on Twitter at @cbcotttraffic. Or give me a ring at 613-288-6900.


Doug Hempstead

CBC Ottawa's traffic specialist

Doug Hempstead is CBC Ottawa's traffic specialist and can be heard on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning and All In A Day. Sometimes, he even sleeps. Originally from the Ottawa Valley, he is a musician and family man - married with two daughters. Doug is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years experience in the region covering all types of news. He welcomes your input on traffic issues and can be called directly while the shows are airing at 613-288-6900. Tweet him at @cbcotttraffic or @DougHempstead. His e-mail is