Electric cars are everywhere in Victoria, and B.C. roads could soon be filled with even more as the province has announced new electric vehicle (EV) regulations.
“Today we are announcing a major step forward in the governments Clean BC plan, bringing in the final regulations that by 2040 every new car will be an electric vehicle,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resource.
According to the province, this means B.C. becomes the first region in the world to legislate a 100 per cent electric vehicle target.
“I think it’s a great decision for the province and for drivers,” said Julian Sale, owner of Motarize Electric Vehicles. “Gasoline and diesel are not a renewable resource. We’re going to run out so it makes a lot of sense to move to renewable energy vehicles as soon as possible.”
This announcement builds on last year’s Zero-Emission Vehicles Act (ZEV), where the province funded an $8,000 rebate for any new electric or hybrid vehicle.
The province isn’t rolling out any more cash incentives for EV consumers just yet, but instead is putting the pressure on carmakers.
“The new regulation outlines the phased-in, year-by-year EV sales targets that automakers will now have to meet by increasing the number and types of EVs they sell in British Columbia,” explained Ralston.
Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, says it’s an important step in reducing B.C.’s carbon footprint.
“For the car manufacturers, this really sends a signal to the world, to the car manufacturing world that British Columbia is serious about electric vehicle adoption and to send your cars here, we want to buy them,” said Smith.
“In B.C. 40 per cent of our carbon pollution comes from transportation, and passenger vehicles is a big piece of that, and so these regulations are a big part of Clean BC.”
But putting the responsibility on manufacturers to produce more EVs is something that might be easier said than done.
“A lot of manufacturers haven’t taken the time to plan ahead for future production, so some manufacturers like Tesla have been planning for over a decade now about how they’re going to ramp up EV production, whereas traditional gasoline automakers don’t have a long term plan and they will struggle to find the resources to make electric cars,” said Sale.
According to the Victoria EV Association, electric vehicle ownership in B.C. has more than doubled in the past year alone. On April 1, 2019, there were 13,727 electric cars in the province. In March 31, 2020, the count was 29,385, an increase of 114 per cent.
Vancouver Island saw an increase of 98 per cent, going from 2,842 last year to 5,613 in 2020.
“The growth has been absolutely explosive,” said Kira Antinuk of the Victoria EV Association. “They’re clean, they’re quiet, they’re cheap in terms of operation and maintenance they’re great in terms of performance.”
She says with rising gas prices and the high cost of vehicle maintenance, she is not surprised at all to see more drivers giving up their petrol power.
“I’ve had my EV for more than two years and the only maintenance I’ve spent money on is filling up the windshield washer fluid,” laughed Antinuk.
According to the mayor of Victoria, Lisa Helps, two fast-charging stations are coming to downtown Victoria by the end of 2020, but if all new cars sold in B.C. in 2040 are to be electric, they may need a few more.