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NCDA Approach to Clean Growth Strategy – Carrots, Not Sticks

NCDA Approach to Clean Growth Strategy – Carrots, Not Sticks

September 12, 2018

Published by Postmedia, September 7, 2018
By Blair Qualey

The provincial government recently invited submissions towards its clean growth strategy. As such, Victoria is seeking feedback in a number of areas from buildings to industry and of course transportation. As one might expect, electric vehicles (EVs) and the clean energy vehicle program (CEVs) was a major focus of the New Car Dealers of BC Transportation Intentions Paper Submission.

Over the last few years, New Car Dealers Association of BC (NCDA), in partnership with the Province, has played a pivotal role in reducing the percentage of BC’s greenhouse gases (GHGs) that directly comes from new light duty vehicle sales and the on-road light duty vehicle fleet (14% of all GHGs in BC).

We should all be proud of the fact that BC leads the country, and perhaps North America, in per capita EV adoption. Through the CEVforBC™ Program, incentives are provided at the time of purchase of eligible hydrogen, battery electric vehicles (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) vehicles. Administered by the NCDA on behalf of the Province of BC, sales processed through the Program have increased by more than 20% between 2016 and 2017 – and are up a further 110% during the first half of 2018. BC has achieved results as good as, and even better than California has achieved – even with California’s years of regulation and changing zero emission vehicle (ZEV) supply mandates, because of the partnership between BC new car dealers and the government.

As part of the Clean Growth Transportation Intentions strategy, the provincial government is planning to continue current investments in CEV purchase incentives until CEVs make up 5% of all new light-duty vehicle sales by 2020, and then potentially phase them out. Also, under consideration by the BC Government is adopting a

“California or Quebec Mandate” which will force automakers to supply an increasing percentage of CEVs for the light duty vehicle market.It is positive news that the Province wants to continue to provide incentives as more and more British Columbia families wrestle with affordability issues, and in many cases, having and an incentive program like CEV available is what provides a family or individual the means to transition to a newer and more environmentally friendly vehicle. However, incentives will be required beyond 2020 to maintain momentum until a demand-tipping point is reached.

Moreover, adopting mandates for EV’s fails to recognize that newer model gasoline powered vehicles can also play an important role in the reduction of GHG’s, as manufacturers unveil new internal combustion models that are much more fuel-efficient with each passing year. Even with ambitious increases in EV purchases by BC consumers, the only way to meet regulated ratios or quotas would be to restrict the sale of new (gasoline, diesel) non-EV vehicles that consumers buy and need today for their families or businesses.

Ideally, an electric vehicle would be a solution for every individual and family. However, in a resource-based province such as ours, we need more options and flexibility and an electric vehicle is simply not a viable option for everyone at this time. In short, we need to be looking at a multi path solutions when it comes to lowering emissions.

We will continue to work with the BC government to further the approach that has been working – using carrots, not sticks.

In our feedback to government, we have recommended:

• Continuing to fund the highly successful Clean Energy Vehicle for BC (CEVforBC™) Point-of- Sale Incentive Program;
• Facilitate sustainable funding for the BC Scrap-It Program, which during its 22-years of existence, has removed over 44,000 older, heavy polluting vehicles from BC roads;
• Continuing to support and develop a broader electric vehicle charging network where BC residents live, work and play;
• Investing in education and marketing campaigns, in partnership with the automotive industry, to further the knowledge and understanding of the advantages of new clean energy vehicles by consumers and auto industry professionals; and,
• Expanding the range of clean energy vehicle incentives, such as discounted rates on BC Ferries, as is done in other jurisdictions like Norway.

BC requires a multi-path approach that reduces GHGs, meets the needs of all British Columbians, and one in which new car dealers and the auto industry can help optimize through new technology resulting in the kind of success we all want – for the economy, the environment and for current and future British Columbians.

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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