EV Advice: Test driving EVs rarely easy, even at TestFest

Even journalists trying to pick an electric vehicle of the year are struggling to get access to them.

By Michael Bettencourt Wheels.ca

Nov 13, 2022 2 min. read

Article was updated a year ago

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The ability to test drive an electric vehicle at a dealership is a rare luxury these days thanks to months-long waiting lists for most models and even showroom demos being sold.

This was even the case at the annual Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) car and truck of the year competition. Dubbed TestFest, the goal has always been to gather and compare as many all-new vehicles as possible to choose the best in each market segment and an overall car and truck of the year.

Winners won’t be announced until early 2023, but this year’s TestFest has turned out to be particularly difficult for EVs, with many brand no-shows. Some absent automakers were no surprises, such as Tesla and Audi, both of which haven’t participated in the awards in the past decade. Volkswagen and Porsche recently decided to withdraw as corporate members of AJAC. And while Vietnamese upstart VinFast has just joined, others – including Lucid and Rivian – have not.

In all, there were only seven plug-in vehicles at this year’s TestFest out of roughly 50 models on the market. (Personally, I was super happy to see and drive the electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, as it has not been widely available to test drive in Canada.) Even automakers like GM, BMW, Polestar and Mercedes-Benz didn’t offer up any of their EVs. Granted, there is still a chance they can be considered for awards if their EVs can be widely tested by AJAC before the end of the year.

Just keep this in mind if your favourite EV doesn’t win any AJAC awards early next year.

Michael Bettencourt bought his first EV in late 2011 and has followed the Canadian EV scene ever since. Follow him on Twitter @MCBet10court




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