Ipsos poll: Canadian Attitudes on Automobiles

Canadians like driving and are receptive to electric vehicles, but worry about their viability

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC — As technology and electronics integrate further into society, Ipsos seeks to understand how receptive Canadian consumers are to these changes. In order to do this, Ipsos has polled 1,000 Canadians on their views of self-driving or electric cars and how these burgeoning industry changes will affect their lives.

Canadians seem very attached to their cars. For many, a car is more than a vehicle to move from location to location: it is a reflection of their personality or self. 77% of Canadians agree with the sentiment that their car reflects who they are, and 59% consider themselves as passionate about cars, trucks, motorcycles, or other vehicles.

Given this attachment to their cars, it is unsurprising that Canadians prefer to continue driving their cars manually. Canadians are split on whether their view of a self-driving car is positive (55%) or negative (45%). If given the choice between a self-driving car or a manual car at equivalent cost, a strong majority (69%) would prefer to continue using the vehicle they personally drive. Cost is a factor in this decision, however. If offered a self-driving car that costs less to own and maintain than a car today, only 44% would still prefer to continue using their personal vehicle.

Canadians are reluctant to give up the human element of a car, however, a majority seem to understand the impact cars have on our environment. In recent years, electric cars have been put forth as a method of reducing car emissions, and the public seems receptive to the idea. 72% agree that they have a generally positive opinion of electric cars. Despite this, the general approval of electric cars has not seemed to translate into a desire for action as only 5% of Canadians responded that they were interested in buying an electric car when they next purchase a car with 28% saying they might.

The main obstacles explaining the difference in approval of electric cars and desire to own one center around the logistics of personally owning an electric car rather than a gas powered one. If they owned an electric car, 88% of Canadians demonstrated concern over their ability to find a charging station when out in public. Since electric vehicles are a newer technology, a similarly high percentage (84%) are concerned with finding a mechanic to help keep their electric cars on the road. Other high concern issues center on increased electricity bills at home when charging their cars (81%), durability (78%), reliability (79%), and safety features (65%).

The study was conducted as part of a special feature at www.gen-pop.com/wtf about the Future of Mobility.

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted February 23 – 26, 2018. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,000 adults age 18+.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the Canadian Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,000, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=3.5).

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
[email protected]

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs