Sidney and Central Saanich record the second and third-highest EV ownership rate per 1,000 residents. (Black Press Media file)

Sidney and Central Saanich record the second and third-highest EV ownership rate per 1,000 residents. (Black Press Media file)

Saanich Peninsula plugs into EV ownership

Sidney and Central Saanich record the second and third-highest EV ownership rate per 1,000 residents

New figures confirm the Saanich Peninsula as one of the power points of electric vehicle (EV) ownership, which more than doubled across British Columbia since last year.

Figures from the Victoria Electric Vehicle Association (VicEVA) show Sidney and Central Saanich rank second and third in terms of EV ownership per 1,000 residents with 14 EVs and 13 EVs respectively, behind Salt Spring Island with 21 EVs.

The figures — which VicEVA acquired through ICBC — show EV ownership in the region encompassing Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands rose 98 per cent to 5,613 from 2,842 in March 2019. Saanich records the highest absolute EV ownership in the region with 1,291 vehicles (up 91 per cent) followed by Oak Bay with 460 vehicles (up 92 per cent) and the area that includes Mill Bay and Cowichan with 440 vehicles (up 100 per cent). Across British Columbia, the number of EVs irose to 29,385 by March 31, 2020 from 13,727 in March of 2019, an increase of 114 per cent.

Sidney’s ownership rate rose by 68 per cent to 333, while Central Saanich’s ownership rate rose 97 per cent — the same rate of increase for the area that includes Langford, Colwood and Highlands. Victoria rose 87 per cent.

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“Sidney, we suspect we don’t know, could be influenced by the availability of low cost EVs, because a major importer of those [Motorize] is located in Sidney,” Jim Hindson, a VicEVA board member, when asked about the strong numbers for Sidney and Central Saanich. “We suspect that that may have some influence and could also influence Central Saanich.”

Another possible influence is the savings EVs offer, especially for commuters to downtown Victoria. “Anybody who is commuting from Sidney to downtown Victoria might spend $300, $400 a month on gas, and getting an EV drops the cost [of fuel] to $12 a month or something like that,” he said, adding EVs cost significantly less to maintain.

Overall, Hindson describes the growth as “great” in predicting additional growth against the backdrop of growing environmental awareness. “It’s growing exponentially and I’m sure we will see an increase next year as well,” he said.

But room for improvement remains. Hindson said his association is encouraging municipalities including Sidney to promote more charging opportunities in private buildings.

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Electric vehicles