Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 21

* FEBRUARY 2024
21
The long(er)
wait in
the cold
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
short supply, cold weather can stretch it
to the breaking point.
In Chicago, news outlets reported that
several Tesla drivers were stranded at a
charging station. This wasn't necessarily
the fault of the chargers, however.
In extremely cold temperatures, power
moves in and out of battery cells more
slowly, Charlie Parker, founder of Ratel
Consulting, a U.S. battery advisory group,
told sibling publication Automotive News.
But the combination of slower
charging, coupled with drivers returning
to stations more often, made for busy
scenes at many North American chargers,
with the frigid weather lingering for
about a week.
Flo charging stations designed to work
in temperatures as cold as -40 C experienced
few operational hitches, Yang said.
But individual charging sessions were
longer, likely a result of drivers arriving
at chargers having expended more energy
than normal.
Sifting through data from its network of
chargers in Montreal, Flo found that the
uptick in cold weather session times was
consistent over the longer term. The company
analyzed charging patterns for its
more than 2,000 public charging stations
in Montreal throughout 2023.
The typical session in temperatures
warmer than 10 C was about two-and-ahalf
hours. But on the 27 days last year
that the mercury dipped below -5 C, drivers
spent on average an extra 25 minutes
charging, taking single-session times to
nearly three hours.
INFRASTRUCTURE EXPOSED
Cold weather energy loss is not a problem
unique to EVs. Gasoline vehicles
experience an increase in fuel consumption
of about 15 per cent in frigid weather.
Yet with public charging infrastructure in
Canada and the United States already in
" We always knew we had a reliability
problem as an industry, " Yang said.
Freezing temperatures " exacerbate it. "
Along with ensuring that all charging
stations can handle the occasional freezing
temperatures, Yang said more public
charging stations would likely have prevented
the overcrowding seen in Chicago.
The United States has about 19 EVs
for every public Level 2 or Level 3 fast
charger, based on data from S&P Global
Mobility and the U.S. Department of
Energy. In Canada, the EV-to-charger
ratio is about 20 to 1, based on vehicle registration
data from Statistics Canada and
an accounting of public chargers kept by
Natural Resources Canada.
While planning for public charging
stations is out of the typical EV driver's
hands, owners can take proactive steps to
improve battery life and charging in cold
weather.
Preconditioning an EV - preheating
or precooling the EV - while it's still
plugged in is one simple but effective
option, Yang said. This gives the battery
an immediate break by using grid power
to bring the cabin up to a comfortable temperature.
Buying
an EV with a heat pump could
also help, said Ratel Consulting's Parker.
Tesla has heat pumps on its newer models
to handle battery thermal management,
heat the motor and warm the cabin. Heat
pumps use less energy than typical EV
heaters, which work more like the coils of
a toaster.
Recurrent suggests forgoing the cabin
heater altogether. The EV data firm recommends
using seat warmers and a heated
steering wheel, which use less energy.
-ANC
- Hannah Lutz of Automotive News
contributed to this story
Canadians are bypassing pickups, lowering transaction prices
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
terly. Ford reports just annually.
" Pent-up demand continued to overcome
high interest rates and economic
concerns, " DAC Managing Partner
Andrew King said
in a news release.
" While inventories
remain tight in a couple
of critical segJANUARY
STATS/P22
SALES ANALYSIS
ments, the market is moving back into
a more normal environment in which
demand [rather than just supply] plays
a more central role in determining sales
volumes. "
BACK ABOVE 2 MILLION SAAR
In another show of a sales comeback,
the seasonally adjusted annual rate
(SAAR) for the month came in at 2.06 million,
crossing the two-million mark for
the first time since February 2020, DAC
said.
The average transaction price last
month stood at an estimated $49,000, 40
per cent above the January 2019 average
of $35,000, according to figures from J.D.
Power Canada.
Robert Karwel, senior manager of J.D.
Power's Canadian automotive practice,
said January 2024's figure will be finalized
later in February, but it will mark
the fourth consecutive month of incrementally
falling transaction prices.
A " mix shift " and an increase in incentive
spending by automakers to combat
higher interest rates are lowering the
average transaction price, Karwel said.
" Essentially, we're seeing enough people
that were going to buy a full-size truck
hesitate, " he said. " But people that are
buying a small utility - and it doesn't
matter if you're talking
compact or subcompact
- those things are redhot.
They're a lot more
affordable. "
Karwel:
" You're still
not getting
great APR on
the 84-month
term; it's still
relatively
expensive,
but consumers
are
doing
it because
they're trying
to amortize
the loan over
a longer term
to get a lower
payment. "
FILE PHOTO
So, fewer larger vehicles
sold, coupled with
an increasing number
of smaller and cheaper
vehicles sold, are driving
down the average
transaction price.
PAYMENT PAIN
Interest rates are also
well above prepandemic
levels, with the average
annual percentage rate
(APR) in January at 6.4
per cent, Karwel said.
Through the same period
in 2019, the APR was
3.2 per cent.
That increase, in
part, has led to a surge
in the size of the average
monthly car payment
to $855 last month,
well above the $651 of
January 2019. Consumers are trying to
keep payments down by lengthening
their loan terms, Karwel said.
" More people are still piling into
84-month financing, " he said. " You're
still not getting great APR on the
84-month term; it's still relatively expensive,
but consumers are doing it because
The RAV4 was among several Toyota
vehicles to post record sales in
January. PHOTO: TOYOTA
they're trying to amortize the loan over a
longer term to get a lower payment. "
Profit margins are up compared with
prepandemic numbers. While January
figures weren't immediately available,
the average profit margin for dealers in
2023 was 5.5 per cent, while it was four
per cent in 2019.
But it's not all good news.
" We would be remiss if we did not note
that the first signs of weakness do seem
to be appearing in certain market strata, "
DAC said. " But for now, we will take
the win. "
The company didn't elaborate. DAC's
King told Automotive News Canada
that he wanted to wait a few months to
determine whether January presented
" strange anomalies " or " a more worrying
trend. "
IS THE PARTY OVER ALREADY?
But among the handful of brands still
reporting monthly sales, luxury marques
were hit hard.
Acura sales were down 27.4 per cent to
just 710 vehicles, while Lexus fell 18 per
cent to 1,873, according to the Automotive
News Research & Data Center in Detroit.
Volvo was off 19.5 per cent to 593 vehicles.
Meanwhile,
the Honda brand reported
a 57.9-per-cent increase to 7,455 vehicles,
while Toyota brand sales were up 29.1
per cent to 13,653 - a record for January,
the automaker said.
The Toyota RAV4, Prius, Tundra,
Corolla Cross and Corolla Hybrid all
achieved January records, the automaker
said.
Kia sales surged 23.9 per cent to 6,523.
In its latest Global Auto Report,
Scotiabank Economics forecasts that
sales will top 1.71 million in Canada in
2024 and 1.78 million in 2025, " as inventory
levels improve and rates pressures
ease. "
But the bank, too, is warning of speed
bumps ahead.
" We are expecting further rebalancing
within the auto sector this year amid
still-improving production and inventories,
while elevated interest rates continue
to weigh on new light-vehicle sales in
the near term, " the report said.
Affordability is becoming an issue
in Canada. Deloitte automotive
research leader Ryan Robinson told the
Automotive News Canada Podcast that
the firm's most recent Global Automotive
Consumer Study found that 63 per cent of
those shopping for a new vehicle expect
to pay less than $500 a month, far below
the $855 average.
" There's a lot of sticker shock when
consumers are coming back to market, "
he said. - ANC

Automotive News Canada - February 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - February 2024

Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - CT1
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - CT2
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 1
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 2
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 3
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 4
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 5
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 6
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 7
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 8
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 9
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 10
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 11
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 12
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 13
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 14
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 15
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 16
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 17
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 18
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 19
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 20
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 21
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 22
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 23
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 24
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 25
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 26
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