A provincially-funded program designed to lower fuel emissions and provide rebates to people who purchase electric vehicles has now been expanded to specialty-use vehicles.
In 2011, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources launched the Clean Energy Vehicle (CEV) program to help people and organizations lower fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses, local and regional governments, non-profits and individuals will now qualify for the rebates which include electric or hydrogen fuel cell motorcycles, low-speed utility trucks, heavy duty transports, passenger buses and airport and port service vehicles.
In 2015, the City of Victoria took advantage of the deal, partnering with Saanich and purchasing 13 vehicles, which garnered a kick back of $100,000.
In September, the government committed to expand the CEV Program to provide additional rebates with the goal of increasing electric vehicle use in B.C. from two per cent to five. Last month, they injected another $2.5 million to include specialty-vehicles.
“The City of Victoria will be releasing its climate leadership plan Dec. 8 and electrifying the city’s fleet is part of that plan,” Mayor Lisa Helps said, citing the City’s target of zero emissions by 2050, which is in line with the Paris Agreement.
“Our approach will be aggressive,” Helps said. “But you can’t start something like that in 2050, so incentives like this from the province are great.”
Currently, the cost of electric specialty-use vehicles can run 40 to 600 per cent higher than traditional gas or diesel versions, so the province hopes the rebates can help close that price gap.
Peter Luke, sales consultant at Campus Nissan said he’s already seen businesses like courier companies purchasing vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf for work purposes.
“We sell a ton of these things and had quite a number of people who had been leasing them for work purposes,” he said.
Rebates will range from $2,000 to $50,000, depending on the type and price of the vehicle. The incentives are also aimed at supporting the growth of businesses in the province that are developing, manufacturing and selling specialty-use, zero-emission vehicles.
Jim Hindson is a member of Victoria’s Electric Vehicle Club and has been driving a Kia Soul EV for two and a half years, for which he received a $5,000 rebate. He thinks Victoria people are more sensitive to environmental conditions – a major driving force to make the switch to an electric vehicle.
“What’s important is property owners of multi-unit buildings helping facilitate getting chargers in the building,” he said. The EV Club advocates for zero-emission vehicles and regularly presents to strata home ownership associations.
“It’s very wise to think ahead and know that this is what residents are going to want. Electrification is coming, that’s a done deal.”