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Canadian electric vehicle (EV) sales were especially strong last year, with a record-setting total of 11,000 new vehicles sold. With almost 30,000 EV’s on Canadian roads, how do we measure up to Europe and the rest of the world?

As countries work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it’s apparent that the transport sector remains the biggest challenge in terms of determining climate policy. Big auto manufacturers like BMW and Tesla have also been investing significant funds towards EV research to advance the technology even further.

As the popularity and efficiency of EV’s continue to rise, we’re seeing more and more countries turn to EV’s in order to bring down the CO2 emissions resulting from automobiles.

Not surprisingly, China is currently leading the EV race with a total of 44,874 new electric cars in December 2016 alone, according to Clean Technica.

While that number is certainly impressive, it’s Norway that has the highest per capita for the number of all-electric vehicles in the world. In fact, it was reported earlier in March that half of all the new cars in Norway are either electric or hybrid vehicles.

The charging infrastructure in Norway is also keeping up to speed with the EV craze – at least 96 per cent of electric car owners have access to charging stations in their own homes, according to Fleetcarma. The world’s largest EV fast-charging station was recently opened in the country. On average Fleetcarma estimates that there are 2.4 charging stations for every 1,000 registered electric vehicles in Norway.

Norway, along with the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom and Germany account for 82 per cent of cumulative sales of EV’s in Europe. Norway, the Netherlands and France each have achieved EV sales of more than 100,000 units.

Europe as a whole is an absolute hotbed for electric vehicles. With the continent’s goal of having 8 million EV‘s by the end of 2020, countries are offering various tax incentives to encourage drivers to consider purchasing an EV as their next ride.

Norway charges high taxes on high emission vehicles and France provides “environmental bonuses” for the purchase of EV’s.

In the Netherlands, the government has a system based on the level of each vehicle’s CO2 emission – cars that emit zero emissions get taxed zero dollars.

In the United Kingdom, their Plug-In Car Grant covers 35 per cent of the cost of an electric car or 20 per cent of the cost of an electric van.

Germany does not offer any tax breaks for would-be EV buyers, but being the headquarters of some of the leading EV auto makers also puts EV’s on the roads.

Similar to some these European countries, Canada also offers incentives for driving green.

There are currently two incentive programs for British Columbians thinking about purchasing an EV – the CEVforBC™ program allows drivers to save up to $5,000 towards the purchase of a new battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and up to $6,000 for a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle

For qualifying EV’s, the CEVforBC™ incentive can be further combined with the BC SCRAP-IT Program, which offered up to $6,000 off the sticker price if a buyers scraps an older vehicle.

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


 From left to right: Blair Qualey, President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC, Jim Inkster, Chairman  of the Board, New Car Dealers Association of BC, and Minister Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines.