B.C. Announces $40 Million Investment in Green Vehicle Incentives

Published: February 6, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



British Columbia is encouraging customers to switch to environmentally friendly vehicles. The Minister of Energy and Mines announced an investment of $40 million to drive residents to “zero-emission vehicles, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support investment in made-in-B.C. green technology.”

On Friday, Bill Bennett announced funding of $40 million for B.C.’s Clean Energy Vehicle (CEV) Program. The province is putting the funding towards developing point-of-sale purchase incentives for customers over the next three years. Specifically, the funds will focus on incentivizing the purchase of battery electric vehicles with discounts up to $5,000 and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles up to $6,000.

In a press release, the Ministry of Energy and Mines says that the vehicle price gap announced for the CEV Program in March 2016 is still in operation. This initiative sees vehicles prices above $77,000 become ineligible for the purchase incentives.

Programs funded within the $40 million amount are also under development to:

  • Expand public, residential and workplace charging and hydrogen fuelling infrastructure;
  • Support research, economic development and job training in the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sector;
  • Increase public awareness of the benefits of ZEVs;
  • Continue purchase incentives for specialty-use vehicles used in vehicle fleets such as light-duty zero-emission trucks, buses and motorcycles; and
  • Provide incentives for bikes, electric bikes, electric scooters, car share credits and transit passes when someone scraps an older vehicle.

“Zero-emission vehicles are clean, quiet and reliable and help drivers reduce fuel and maintenance costs and tailpipe emissions, and are a growing economic sector in the province,” Bennett said in the release. “Additional funding of $40 million for the Clean Energy Vehicle Program will help make zero-emission vehicles more affordable for British Columbians and build out charging infrastructure at residences, businesses and along our roads and highways to make sure there are places to charge them up.”

Mary Polak, the provincial Minster of Environment, noted that “transportation accounts for nearly half of the emissions by the average B.C. family, and light-duty vehicles account for 14% of B.C.’s overall emissions. With 98% of our electricity in B.C coming from clean or renewable sources, encouraging people to buy or lease a zero-emission vehicle is one of best ways we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure British Columbia remains a climate action leader,” she said.

Provincial Contrasts

The approach of B.C. to incentivize customers purchasing clean transport is in contrast to a recent announcement in Quebec, where car manufacturers will bear the load of making green vehicles more readily available.

Quebec’s new electric vehicle laws will put a strain on automakers, who will admittedly struggle to comply with the regulations. That’s the view of David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, who was speaking at the Montreal Auto Show in January.

Under the new law, Quebec requires car manufacturers to sell a minimum number of electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Beginning in 2018, 3.5 per cent of all auto sales in the province must come from these alternative fuel solutions. Furthermore, by 2025 the threshold will increase to 15.5 per cent of all vehicles.

Quebec is the only province to pass such stringent regulations, which Adams describes as “very aggressive”.

“It’s going to be a real challenge to see how we’re going to find a path to get there.”

SOURCE: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017MEM0004-000243