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April 11, 2019

By Blair Qualey
Published in Post Media

For the last several years, I have dedicated a great many columns to the issue of electric vehicles (EV) and the challenges we face in trying to increase the adoption rate of EVs in BC. And while there certainly remain challenges, in the last several months, we have started to experience a significant and positive shift in a number of areas, all of which bodes well for the future.

The provincial government started 2019 with a budget that signalled its strong commitment to making a difference through its CleanBC plan with a top up the CEVforBC™ Program by $42 Million for point of sale purchase incentives of up to $5,000 for qualifying EV and $6,000 for Hydrogen vehicles. The budget also confirmed an important $30 million investment for charging stations required to charge an electric vehicle or fuel a hydrogen vehicle.

The collective goal of the provincial government and our Association is the continued acceleration in adoption of clean energy vehicles. In the last year in particular, we have experienced a significant and positive shift. Through the CEVforBC™ Program which we administer on behalf of the province, almost 6,300 incentive transactions occurred in 2018, almost four-thousand more than the year previous. The partnership is one we value, one that is working and one that we hope to continue and push EV adoption to new heights in the years ahead.

Victoria’s decision to follow a BC Utilities Commission recommendation and issue an exemption of BCUC’s regulation of EV charging services (but retain oversight on safety) is equally important. The exemption will apply to EV charging service providers who are not existing public utilities, such as some landlords, strata corporations, private companies and parkade owners. As a result, those who are exempt, will not need BCUC approval to set rates for EV charging services which provides the opportunity for greater participation in the market and private investment in charging infrastructure in this province.

At the federal budget-level, Ottawa had important news to share, proposing the establishment of an EV incentive program that will see consumers get a $5,000 break when they buy a clean energy vehicle with a base price under $45,000. The news is welcome, as the ability to access both a provincial and federal incentive will make clean energy vehicles even more affordable and further EV adoption in this province and across the nation.

New Car Dealers across Canada hope that Ottawa will expedite the process as we anticipate consumers may put their potential purchase on hold until they know how they can access the new federal incentive.

BC’s New Car Dealers believe in a three-pillar approach to further the adoption of clean energy vehicles that includes purchase incentives, continued investments in charging infrastructure and ongoing education. We are very committed to working with our government partners, to create even better synergies and further increase the growing clean energy vehicle adoption in this province by BC motorists.

For information about automotive trends and careers, visit: https://carsandjobs.com/

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca.

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