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The zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard

100% compliance for the first period!

On September 1, 2019 all manufacturers that needed to earn credits by purchasing zero-emission (ZEV) or low-emission (LEV) vehicles on the Québec market fulfilled their regulatory obligations.

Read the Report on the Results of the First Compliance Period (April 15, 2020 - PDF, 8,2 MB)This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Notice to automakers

You can access the online report This hyperlink will open in a new window. of the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) to submit reports concerning:

  • vehicles eligible for credits under the ZEV standard;
  • the detailed statement of sales of eligible vehicles;
  • the summary statement of total sales.

It should be noted that you must possess a user name and a password to access the MELCC online service. The same codes are used on the platform of the Online GHG Report Submission Feature.

Should you experience difficulties when using the service, please contact the MELCC General Information.

The ZEV standard in a nutshell
To download the explanatory leaflet
 (PDF, 3 MB)This hyperlink will open in a new window.

Objective of the standard

The standard seeks to spur the supply of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and low-emission vehicles (LEVs) to afford Québec consumers access to greater numbers and a broader range of plug-in motor vehicles, which are the cleanest and the most technically advanced on the market.

Businesses targeted

Automakers that sell or lease more than 4 500 new vehicles on average per year (all light models) will be subject to the ZEV standard. Big automakers that sell or lease more than 20 000 new vehicles on average per year will, starting in the 2020 model year, be subject to requirements linked specifically to the sale of ZEVs.

Note: Automobile dealerships are not subject to the requirements of ZEV legislation and regulations. The ZEV standard enables automobile dealerships to respond to consumer demand for greater numbers of low-carbon models at increasingly affordable prices. To reach their targets, automakers must ensure that ZEVs are attractive and available where there is demand for them.

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The ZEV standard came into force on January 11, 2018. The automakers subject to it must now accumulate credits by obtaining zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) or low-emission vehicles (LEVs) on the Québec market. The credit target is calculated by applying a percentage to the total number of light-duty vehicles that each automaker sells in Québec. The credit requirement thus varies from one automaker to the next. Each sale or lease of a ZEV recognized by the Minister earns credits, the number of which varies according to the vehicle’s electric range. The greater the range, the greater the number of credits that the automaker earns, which consequently reduces the number of ZEVs that it must sell to meet its credit target. The purpose of the ZEV standard is thus to spur the automobile market to develop greater numbers of models that rely on increasingly efficient low-carbon technologies.

Small automakers not subject to the standard and the most competitive automakers can also obtain a financial gain from the sale of their surplus credits to other automakers. The latter can purchase the credits to avoid paying the royalties stipulated by the regulation or keep them for their future needs.

Moreover, automakers can already use the credits accumulated in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 without regulatory obligation and use them to ensure compliance in the coming years. However, it should be noted that the government is empowered to oversee the use of the credits carried over to ensure that it attains its objectives. Accordingly, automakers are entitled to use during the 2019-2021 compliance period the credits accumulated previously in order to satisfy a maximum of 35% of the requirements of this period. For the period 2022-2024 and subsequent years, they can use the accumulated credits to attain up to 25% of the requisite credits.

Details of the operation of the ZEV standard, especially the percentage of credits required by category of automaker, the forms to calculate the credits linked to each type of vehicle, requirements pertaining to reconditioned vehicles, the rules governing the use of credits and the information requested when vehicles are registered will be specified in the regulation.

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Types of vehicles eligible for credits

Light-duty motor vehicles (passenger vehicles), excluding motorcycles and mopeds, that can travel on public roads:

  • fully electric vehicles, including those that run on a hydrogen fuel cell;
  • vehicles equipped with a hydrogen-powered combustion engine;
  • rechargeable hybrid vehicles;
  • any other vehicle powered exclusively by another means of propulsion that emits no pollutants or that is powered in conjunction with such a means of propulsion.

New vehicles and, under certain conditions, vehicles that are reconditioned by the manufacturer and registered in Québec for the first time are also eligible.

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ZEV legislation and regulations

The National Assembly unanimously adopted the Act to increase the number of zero-emission motor vehicles in Québec in order to reduce greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions on October 26, 2016.

Following the example of 10 American states, including California and several northeastern states, Québec has thus assumed the power to adopt the so-called “ZEV standard,” which encourages automakers to broaden their offerings of such vehicles.

In the wake of the adoption of the Act, two draft regulations were published in the Gazette officielle du Québec on July 5, 2017 and Cabinet approved the attendant regulations on December 13, 2017. The ZEV standard is part of an array of initiatives, in particular those stemming from the 2013-2020 Action Plan on Climate Change and the 2015-2020 Transportation Electrification Action Plan (PAET 2015-2020), which has set a target of 100 000 plug-in vehicles registered by 2020.

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