Gas prices have dropped below $1.00 per litre across Greater Victoria, but industry experts doubt that will curb the growing movement of people making the switch to electric cars
The Provincial Government announced funding today to improve the infrastructure for electric cars — the latest in a push to get more people moving from the pump to the plug-in.
Fred Wissemann, president of the Victoria EV Club, says the club’s membership has exploded in popularity.
“We started out with 25 in 2012 and now we are over 600,” he said.
But that means finding room at the charging stations scattered throughout the city isn’t always easy.
“I have to park next to the charging station because I can’t charge, there are already cars in there, this is quite common now.”
The government announced $50,000 dollars in funding today to train electricians to install and maintain charging stations — part of its $25 million dollar Clean Energy Vehicle program.
It also launched a rebate incentive program for electric vehicle buyers last April.
The funding for that program was supposed to last three years, but because so many people have taken advantage of it, the money will likely be gone by March.
Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said he’s hoping to secure more funding to allow the program to continue, and those who sell electric vehicles are hopeful.
“When the funding ran out last time they did renew it so we’re obviously hoping the same thing will happen again,” said Frank O’Brien, sales consultant with Wheaton GM which sells the Chevrolet Volt.
O’Brien said he doesn’t think a drop in gas prices will stop the growth of the electric vehicle market.
“The car industry as a whole is changing, every car company is working on electric cars right now.”
And while Fred Wissemann said most electric vehicle drivers make the switch for the environment, the monthly savings are significant — with the average driver paying about $15 dollars per month in electricity and maintenance costs.
He just hopes as more people make the switch, the infrastructure will keep up.