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The zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard

Notice to automakers

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

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

Note that you must have a user name and password to access the MELCCFP online service. They are the same as those used on the platform of the Online GHG Report Submission Feature.

Should you experience difficulties when using the service, contact the MELCCFP by email.

The ZEV standard seeks to encourage the transition to cleaner vehicles and lower transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by boosting the supply of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and low-emission vehicles (LEVs), such as plug-in hybrids. Québec consumers thus have access to a greater number and a broader range of these types of vehicles.

The ZEV standard supports the government’s transport electrification goals, in particular that of having two million electric vehicles on Québec roads by 2030. It also paves the way for the ban on the sale of gasoline-powered light-duty vehicles in 2035.

The ZEV standard in a nutshell

Businesses targeted

Automakers that sell or lease more than 4,500 new light-duty vehicles on average per year (all models combined) are subject to the ZEV standard. For model years 2018 to 2024, large volume automakers that sell or lease more than 20,000 new vehicles on average per year are subject to specific requirements on the sale of ZEVs.

Note: Automobile dealerships are not subject to the requirements of the Act to increase the number of zero-emission motor vehicles in Québec in order to reduce greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions (ZEV Act) and ZEV regulations. The ZEV standard enables automobile dealerships to respond to the growing consumer demand for a greater number of low-carbon emitting models at more affordable prices. To reach their targets, automakers must ensure that ZEVs are attractive and available where the demand exists.

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Here is how the ZEV standard operates.

Credit target

Automakers subject to the standard must accumulate credits by supplying the Québec market with zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) or low-emission vehicles (LEVs). The number of credits required 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 another.

Granting of credits

Model years 2018–2024

During the first years in which the ZEV standard applies, each sale or lease of a ZEV recognized by the Minister earns credits for the automaker. The number of credits varies depending on the vehicle’s electric range. The greater the range a vehicle has, the greater the number of credits the automaker earns, which reduces the number of ZEVs that it must sell to meet its credit target. 

The purpose of the ZEV standard is thus to incentivize the automobile market to develop greater numbers of models that rely on increasingly efficient low-carbon technologies.

Model year 2025 and subsequent years

With the strengthening of the ZEV standard enacted by the government in 2023, credits will be granted differently for model year 2025 and subsequent years. Each sale or lease of a ZEV recognized by the Minister earns the manufacturer one (1) credit. Each LEV sale with an electric range of over 80 kilometres earns half a credit (0.5). Note that the government has allowed for some flexibility for the years 2025, 2026 and 2027. As such, LEVs with an electric range of 50 to 80 kilometres will earn part of the half-credit, based on the calculation provided for in the regulations.

  1. Use of credits

Small automakers not subject to the law and the best-performing automakers can also derive financial gain from the sale of their excess credits to other automakers that may choose to purchase them, for example to avoid paying charges prescribed by the regulation, or keep them to meet their future needs.

Moreover, automakers can use the credits accumulated in previous compliance periods to ensure compliance in current and future periods. However, the government is empowered to oversee the use of the credits carried over to attain its objectives. During the 2019–2021 compliance period, automakers were entitled to use previously accumulated credits to satisfy a maximum of 35% of their requirements. For the period 2022–2024, they are entitled to use previously accumulated credits to satisfy up to 25% of their requirements. These ceilings will gradually decrease until they reach 0% in 2034 in order to ensure that 100% of new light-duty vehicles sold in 2035 are electric, regardless of previous ZEV credits. In phase 2, for model year 2025 and subsequent years, credits will have an expiry date, meaning that it will only be possible to use them during the period in which they were accumulated and the period following.

For more information:

The detailed operation of the ZEV standard, including the percentage of credits required by category of automaker, the formulas to calculate credits for each type of vehicle, the requirements pertaining to reconditioned vehicles, the rules governing the use of credits and the information requested when vehicles are registered, are specified in the legislation.

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Types of vehicles eligible for credits

Vehicles eligible for credits include light-duty motor vehicles (passenger vehicles) that can travel on public roads, excluding motorcycles and mopeds. These vehicles are the following:

  • fully electric vehicles, including those that run on a hydrogen fuel cell;
  • vehicles equipped with a hydrogen-powered combustion engine;
  • plug-in hybrid electric 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.

Vehicles eligible for credits must be new or, under certain conditions, be reconditioned by the manufacturer and registered in Québec for the first time.

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ZEV Act and regulations

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

It came into force in January 2018, at the same time as its attendant regulations. The regulations were revised in 2023 to spur the automotive industry to improve the supply of electric vehicles in Québec. Note that the majority of the amendments affect vehicles from model year 2025 and subsequent years.

Learn more about the law and related regulations:

The Regulatory Impact Analysis (French, PDF, 1.4 MB)This hyperlink will open in a new window. done during the strengthening of the regulations, in 2023, is also available.

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Useful links