B.C.’s electric vehicle direct-current fast-charge network is looking to double in size in 2018. (Black Press Files)

Clean transportation a priority for B.C. government

Province looks to make bigger shift towards electric vehicles

With consumer demand for clean, energy and fuel efficient transportation at an all time high, the Province of British Columbia is making changes to ensure that clean transportation is both affordable and available for British Columbians.

This information comes courtesy of a news release issued by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and was announced by Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on Clean Energy Vehicle Day.

“We know that many British Columbians would like to make the switch to a clean-energy vehicle, but are put off because they think it will be too expensive, or that the charging infrastructure isn’t in place yet,” said Mungall. “Today’s event is about letting people know what we are doing to make the shift to clean transportation more affordable, and more accessible for British Columbians.”

A recent study conducted by BC Hydro found that while a third of British Columbian residents were interested in making the switch from a gasoline-powered car to an electric vehicle, more than half of the respondents still believe that these vehicles, while better for the environment, are too expensive, according to the news release.

“B.C. is a great place to drive an electric vehicle,” said Keith Anderson, the vice-president of customer service for BC Hydro. “With our electricity rates being among the lowest in North America, British Columbians can save 75 per cent on fuel costs when switching to an electric vehicle. Electricity in B.C. is also clean – about 98 per cent of the electricity BC Hydro generates comes from clean and renewable resources – which means making the switch will help to reduce emissions as well.”

However, per the news release, the report also determined that some electric vehicles ultimately end up being less expensive than gas-powered cars when factoring in fuel costs. Further information suggested that B.C. residents who drive electric vehicles have a built-in cost advantage as the province has among the lowest electricity rates in North America.

Therefore, according to the news release, the provincial government is making investments towards further clean-energy vehicle use in 2018, including the goal of doubling the size of the B.C.’s electric vehicle direct-current fast-charger (DCFC) network to 64 sites.

The news release states that with this new addition, a driver who is operating an electric vehicle would be able to make a trip from Golden to Tofino, which is more than 990 kilometres, without running out of power.

The first public retail hydrogen fuelling station will also be opening this year, with two in the Lower Mainland and one in the Capital Regional District, according to the news release.

George Heyman, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, said that these incentives are a perfect start to ensure that the province meets its goals concerning carbon pollution.

“We can make life more affordable and enjoyable by providing more clean and efficient transportation solutions,” said Heyman. “It’s a top priority for our government. Getting more people into electric vehicles is one of the ways we are going to meet our goals to reduce carbon pollution. Our commitment to cleaner transportation will help improve commutes and reduce costs for everyone, while cutting air and climate pollution.”

Furthermore, according to the news release, the Province of British Columbia offers point-of-sale incentives for those interested in buying a clean-energy vehicle, such as $5,000 for the purchase or lease of a new electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and up to $6,000 for a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

“British Columbia’s transportation sector is the largest source of B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for about 39 per cent of the province’s total,” said Claire Trevena, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “That’s why we are committed to making it easier for people to choose cleaner transportation options, like electric vehicles. Building a seamless network of charging stations is a huge step in the right direction and I’m excited to see our transportation systems catching up with the times.”

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