Canada will ban sales of combustion engine passenger cars by 2035

It will require growing zero-emission car sales starting in 2026.

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Canada is joining the ranks of countries and states planning to ban sales of combustion engine cars. Canada has outlined an Emissions Reduction Plan that will require all new passenger car sales to be zero-emissions models by 2035. The government will gradually ramp up pressure on automakers, requiring "at least" 20 percent zero-emissions sales by 2026 and 60 percent by 2030.

Officials didn't say whether this applied to a make's product mix or simply the volume of cars sold. The strategy is more forgiving for the workplace — the Canadian government wanted 35 percent of total medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emissions by 2035, and 100 percent of a "subset" of those machines by 2040.

The country is also offering $1.7 billion CAD (about $1.36 billion US) to extend incentives for buying electric cars and other zero-emissions vehicles. The current federal program offers up to a $5,000 CAD ($4,010 US) rebate for EVs, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell cars that meet varying price, seat and battery requirements. Some provinces, such as British Columbia and Nova Scotia, offer their own incentives.

The broader plan is meant to reduce emissions to 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050. This includes funds to support renewable energy projects, shrink oil industry emissions and develop "nature-based climate solutions."

Canada's car market is small compared to the US. Passenger vehicle sales in Canada reached 1.64 million in 2021, according to estimates, versus an estimated 15 million for the country's southern neighbor. However, the de facto ban on combustion engine cars could further motivate car brands already transitioning to EVs — that's still a lot of potentially lost sales, particularly for a country known for its auto manufacturing plants.