No free ride for electric vehicle owners

Victoria council heard last week that B.C. government has created a pot of money to help install more charging stations around the province.

Victoria council heard last week, from an advocate of electric vehicles, that B.C. government has created a pot of money to help install more charging stations around the province.

The city hasn’t yet determined whether it will apply for some of the cash, let alone whether it supports the idea of the municipality administering such units.

In general, we like the idea of creating more opportunities to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. But at a time when everyone from householders to municipal governments are pinching pennies, the question of who will pay for the power needs addressing.

Existing units outside the Fairmont Empress Hotel and Thrifty Foods at Quadra Street and Cloverdale Avenue are free. That may have more to do with a desire on the part of the companies to be perceived as environmentally conscious and leading the charge, so to speak, for change. We applaud those efforts.

On the other hand, if the province, and by extension, municipalities, want to financially support the expansion of the electric vehicle market by creating more charging stations, the least vehicle users can do is pay for the power.

We’re not talking a huge amount of money here. Using a quick-charge station – 220 volts, like your dryer – such as the one on the Empress’ property costs in the neighbourhood of $2 or $3 to fully charge a vehicle.

The point is, such projects should be revenue neutral, just like the province’s carbon tax on gasoline.

The owners of electric vehicles, which are still rather costly, are likely not exactly struggling to make ends meet.

We suspect that most would be more than happy to pay a few bucks to cover the cost of powering up their rides.

If electric vehicles catch on the way advocates hope they will, the purchase price will come down, but it’s not likely that electricity will cost less.

Doing the right thing frequently costs money. In a case like this where doing so involves making a personal choice, it’s incumbent on the choosers to back their choice financially.