Record High Gasoline Prices & Incentives Should Accelerate EV Adoption
May 10, 2019
By Blair Qualey
Published in Postmedia
Unless you are living under a rock or happen to drive an electric vehicle (EV), you have likely experienced some measure of shock and exasperation at the gas pump in the last several weeks, as we encounter record-high gasoline prices in BC.
As I put pen to paper for this column, the price per litre was hovering close to the $1.75 mark in Metro Vancouver – with the average price across the province topping over $1.55.
Say what you will about the reasons, but for those whom public transit or some other mode of transportation is not an option, this is a particularly difficult hit to absorb. It’s no secret that we live in an environment where affordability is already an issue for many individuals and families.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that the record high price for gasoline coincides with the introduction of a new federal incentive program that will make the price of purchasing a new clean energy vehicle more affordable.
The new Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program provides a $5,000 saving on the cost of eligible vehicles, under $45,000. When coupled with the already-existing, provincial CEVforBC™ program which also provides a $5,000 incentive, consumers can save as much as $10,000 off the sticker-price of a new electric vehicle. And a possible additional $6,000 is available from Scrap-It.
To view the list of eligible vehicles under iZEV, click here.
It is anticipated that access to this level of combined incentive will usher in a new era of EV adoption in British Columbia, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still challenges. Even with substantial incentive-related savings, the matter of affordability remains an issue for many. New battery technology means that the latest models are traveling further on a single charge than ever before, but range anxiety remains a factor. While significant investments are being made to enhance charging infrastructure, ongoing development needs to occur at the community-level, outside large urban centres and along major highway routes, and; because of the geography and climate in some rural and remote areas of the province, current EV models are not going to give way to the pick-up truck and work vehicle anytime soon. In time, that may occur, but that’s simply not the reality today.
Challenges aside, given the current price of gasoline at the pump and no expectation that it’s going to transition to a lower level that most of us would consider reasonable, I expect this will be the tipping point for many individuals and families – and people will get more serious about battery electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell electric (hydrogen) vehicles, if they aren’t already.
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Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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