The observation of radio, X-ray, and H α emission from substellar objects indicates the presence of plasma regions and associated high-energy processes in their surrounding envelopes. This paper numerically simulates and characterizes critical velocity ionization (CVI), a potential ionization process, that can efficiently generate plasma as a result of neutral gas flows interacting with seed magnetized plasmas. By coupling a gas─magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) interactions code (to simulate the ionization mechanism) with a substellar global circulation model (to provide the required gas flows), we quantify the spatial extent of the resulting plasma regions, their degree of ionization, and their lifetime for a typical substellar atmosphere. It is found that the typical average ionization fraction reached at equilibrium (where the ionization and recombination rates are equal and opposite) ranges from 10−5 to 10−8, at pressures between 10−1 and 10−3 bar, with a trend of increasing ionization fraction with decreasing atmospheric pressure. The ionization fractions reached as a result of CVI are sufficient to allow magnetic fields to couple to gas flows in the atmosphere.