Many people are familiar with the famous line from the movie, The Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” The same principle can be applied to electric vehicle infrastructure. The ongoing development of charging networks is proving to be a contributing factor to electric vehicle adoption in many jurisdictions – and has certainly been a key component of BC’s leadership role as it relates to EVs.
BC’s New Car Dealers have worked immensely hard with the provincial government over the past decade to encourage and support the adoption of EVs. Key aspects of the CleanBC Program have included incentives on the purchase of new EVs, ongoing education about the latest technology and features across all brands, and policy and funding decisions that have facilitated access to fast charging stations across the province.
We know that consumers respond to rebates, especially when they know they are achieving an environmental objective, but access to charging where we live, work and drive cannot be overstated. Where range anxiety was once a significant concern among perspective EV owners, today it is much less so because of the focus governments have placed on building even more charging options.
The BC government has made significant investments in successive budgets, supporting the developing of more than 2,000 public Level 2 charging stations, 200 public fast-charging sites, and over 480 fast-charging stations. Its goal is to complete the provincial Electric Highway by 2024 and 10,000 public EV charging stations by 2030. Of course, this is all meant to support BC’s ambitious targets for zero-emission vehicles which would see 90% of all new light-duty vehicle sales in the province be ZEVs by 2030 – and an ultimate goal of 100% by 2035.
In the United States, the federal government recently announced an EV Charging Action Plan that creates a roadmap for significant EV infrastructure development in the coming years – that may serve as food for thought for other jurisdictions.
The plan authorizes up to $7.5 billion through two new programs designed to facilitate the installation of up to 500,000 electric vehicle chargers across the country. Dedicated funding is expected to flow over a five-year period for charging-related installation involving various public and private sector stakeholders. A key aspect will involve expanding or filing gaps for rural areas, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and communities with a low ratio of private parking to households or a high ratio of multi-unit dwellings to single-family homes. Another important aspect of the plan will provide funding to facilitate community engagement activities and to develop and implement education programs through partnerships with schools, community organizations, and vehicle dealerships to support the use of EVs and associated infrastructure.
The US plan demonstrates the same kind of multi-faceted approach that we have championed, through the CleanBC Go Electric Program. New Car Dealers look forward to further planning and funding initiatives in this province that will further the development of charging access and ensure BC maintains its EV leadership position in North America.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected]