18% of new car sales in BC in 2022 were electric-battery models

Apr 13 2023, 3:27 am

If it seems like there are more Teslas on the road in British Columbia, especially in the Lower Mainland, the data backs it up.

Newly released statistics by the provincial government show electric-battery vehicle models accounted for 18.1% of all new light-duty vehicle sales in BC in 2022.

This is a significant increase from 13% in 2022, and only 0.8% in 2015.

With 2022’s strong growth, BC is on target to reach its goal of 26% zero-emission sales for new cars by 2026, 90% by 2030, and 100% by the legislated date of 2035, which is five years earlier than the original goal of 2040, and aligns with the federal government’s subsequently made 2035 target.

As of the end of 2022, about 110,000 new light-duty, electric-battery vehicles were registered in the province, including approximately 30,000 new registrations over the course of the year. This is up from the total of 5,000 new car sales of such clean vehicle models in 2016.

According to the provincial government, BC continues to have one of the highest uptake rates of zero-emission vehicles in Canada. While the umbrella category of zero-emission vehicles includes hydrogen-powered vehicles, the uptake of electric-battery models overwhelmingly dominate this category.

bc zero emission vehicle electric vehicle statistics 2022

British Columbia Light-Duty Vehicle ZEV Sales Rates. (Government of BC)

British Columbia Light-Duty ZEV Registration Totals

British Columbia Light-Duty ZEV Registration Totals. (Government of BC)

The provincial government suggests its rebate programs for electric-battery vehicles has clearly made a difference in making such zero-emission models the clear choice for car owners.

Between April 2015 and December 2022, the provincial government has provided rebates for nearly 62,000 electric-battery vehicles, totalling over $198 million.

In August 2022, BC’s rebate program changed into a new framework of offering rebates based on an income sliding scale. Individuals earning less than $80,000 annually can receive the full rebate amount of up to $4,000, while individuals with incomes between $80,001 and $100,000 are eligible for rebates of between $500 and $2,000, depending on income level and vehicle type. Incomes over $100,000 are not eligible for any rebate.

As well, the eligible vehicle rules changed. Cars eligible for the rebate must have a base manufacturer suggested retail price of under $55,000, while larger vehicles must have a base manufacturer suggested retail price of under $70,000.

The provincial government notes the light-duty, electric-battery vehicle model that received the most rebates in 2022 was the Tesla Model 3, followed by the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai IONIQ 5, and Mini Cooper BEV.

The public charging station network has also seen a corresponding expansion to accommodate the growing population of electric-battery vehicles. This addresses concerns with range anxiety, which is one of the main barriers with transitioning to an electric-battery vehicle model, according to BC Hydro.

As of the end of 2022, there were about 3,800 public charging stations across BC — up from only 781 in 2016. This week, the provincial government announced $26 million in new funding to help support the cost of creating an additional 250 public charging stations. This is in addition to the various policies by provincial and municipal governments to encourage the installation of charging stations at homes and businesses.

It is estimated an electric-battery vehicle reduces fuel costs by about 1,800 to $2,500 annually for the average BC driver, compared to a conventional gas-powered car. There are also lower maintenance costs due to the significantly fewer moving parts of an electric-battery vehicle.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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