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In the last several years, BC’s New Car Dealers have highlighted occasions when the province has made funding and policy decisions that influence the ongoing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in this province – and there have been several.

British Columbia has assumed a leadership role, with more EV sales per capita than anywhere else in North America. This is due in large part to initiatives like electric vehicle rebates through the CleanBC Go Electric Program, which involves a point-of-purchase rebate of $3,000 when purchasing electric vehicles in BC and $1,500 for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The latest initiative to be announced doubles the rebate for the purchase of commercial EVs through the Specialty-use Vehicle Incentive (SUVI) and Commercial Vehicle Pilot (CVP) programs.

The SUVI program is receiving $31 million in funding through StrongerBC, the Province’s economic recovery plan, to double the maximum rebates for medium and heavy-duty vehicles available for B.C. businesses, local and regional governments, public sector organizations and non-profit organizations in their adoption of specialty-use zero-emission vehicles.

Those purchasing eligible vehicles will have access to 33% of the cost, up to a maximum of $100,000 per vehicle, up from $50,000 maximum.

Vehicles eligible for SUVI rebates include medium- and heavy-duty vehicles such as battery electric or hydrogen-fuelled passenger buses, airport and port service vehicles and heavy-duty transport trucks, as well as smaller specialty-use vehicles including motorcycles, cargo e-bikes, and low-speed utility trucks.

Organizations in B.C. can also access $11 million in support for piloting unique or large deployments of medium- and heavy-duty or very large electric vehicles (EVs), such as domestic air, marine or rail transportation through the Commercial Vehicle Pilot program. Eligible applicants can compete to receive up to one-third of total costs in rebates for vehicles and charging or refuelling infrastructure.

Of course, purchase rebates remain only part of the equation, and investment and policy decisions that will facilitate greater access to EV charging stations at home, at work and on major transportation corridors are also required to encourage further EV adoption.

In this area, government has also been proactive, announcing late in 2020 that British Columbians can receive double the amount per rebate to buy and install EV charging stations at their home or at work. As a result, homeowners can access a rebate of up to 50% of purchase and installation costs for an eligible EV charger to a maximum of $700. Workplaces and residents living in condos or apartments that purchase and install chargers can receive a rebate of up to 50% of costs to a maximum of $4,000.

An ongoing commitment and thoughtful solutions are required for BC to maintain its leadership position and its target of all new light duty vehicles purchased being electric, by 2040 – an ultimate goal that is good for the environment and the economy.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected]