Over 31,000 electric-battery vehicles now on BC roads, says government

Nov 28 2019, 5:57 pm

In November 2009, the provincial government, City of Vancouver, and BC Hydro brought in three Mitsubishi iMiEV cars brought into British Columbia, marking the first time electric-battery vehicles rolled on highways in the province.

According to the provincial government, a decade later, there are now about 31,200 light-duty electric-battery vehicles registered in BC. Over the lifetime of these vehicles, they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.8 million tonnes compared to using conventional fossil fuel vehicles.

Over the first nine months of the year, electric-battery vehicles accounted for 9% of all light-duty sales in the province — up from 4% in 2018. With the latest figures for 2019, BC could meet its CleanBC target of reaching 10% in 2025 by as much as half a decade early.

Moreover, electric-battery vehicle sales in BC are now the highest per capita in all of North America, exceeding Quebec by 7% and California by 8%.

The numbers are promising ahead of BC’s legislated full transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2040, when all cars sold in the province must be clean energy zero-emission models.

This will be achieved by the widespread adoption of electric-battery vehicles, and the charging infrastructure to support these vehicles is growing, with more than 1,700 charging stations now in existence across BC. The provincial government also has programs that incentivize the installation of high-speed Level 2 charging stations in single-family homes and the parkades of condominiums, apartments, and offices.

The rate of adoption is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years, as more fossil fuel vehicles reach the end of their lifespan and car owners decide on electric-battery vehicle models.

“Through CleanBC, we’ve taken a wide range of actions to support cleaner, more affordable options for people to make the transition to a better future, whether that’s in transportation, buildings, or waste and recycling,” said George Heyman, BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in a statement.

“With electric vehicles, we’ve seen an incredibly positive response from people because the benefits are so clear.”

Combined rebates offered by the provincial and federal governments can result in savings as much as $8,000 when buying or leasing an electric-battery vehicle.

Fuelling up is also far cheaper; for example, BC Hydro estimates charging a Nissan Leaf at home daily will cost an estimated $20 per month, while a Honda Civic’s gas costs are about $170 per month on average. This is equivalent to fuel cost savings of $1,800 annually.

Amongst numerous benefits, electric-battery vehicle drivers in BC can apply for an HOV lane electric vehicle permit, which includes a decal that allows them to use HOV lanes, even if there is just one person — the driver — in the car.

The provincial government states 44 electric-battery vehicle models are available for sale in BC, with most of these models priced in the $30,000 to $50,000 range, before rebates.