B.C.’s energy minister says proposed legislation to phase out all gas-powered passenger vehicles sold by 2040 will make the province a leader in the electric car market.
The Zero Emissions Vehicles Act, tabled Wednesday, will target 10 per cent of all cars sold to be zero emission sales by 2025, followed by a 30 per cent goal in 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040.
Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall, the energy minister, said the plan is a realistic timeline being adopted around the world.
“It’s clear this is the direction we’re all taking, just as the world took a different direction from horse and buggies over 100 years ago,” she said.
The act is part of the government’s $902 million CleanBC goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions 60 per cent by 2040, which was announced in December.
The CleanBC plan also includes $5,000 incentives for new battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and up to $6,000 for a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. A new federal rebate of $5,000 is available for cars under $45,000, while provincial rebates also exist for purchasing and installing chargers at homes and workplaces.
Mungall said it’s important that B.C. gets ahead of the curve in what she believes will eventually be a competitive market.
B.C., she said, leads Canada in consumer demand for zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure. Quebec is the only other province with similar legislation. Ontario meanwhile announced last year it was scrapping its rebate program. Mungall added 10 states in America also have zero-emission vehicle goals.
“If we’re leading the country in demand but other jurisdictions are implementing zero emissions mandates, we don’t want to lose the availability of those vehicles to other jurisdictions as manufacturers build these vehicles out more.”
More vehicles will also require more charging stations.
There are currently over 1,000 stations in the province, according to BC Hydro. Mungall said regional initiatives such as Accelerate Kootenays have added to the charging network, and research currently underway by the B.C. Utilities Commission will decide on a regulation model for the private market.
“The trick is to allow for the private market to get involved with charging stations the same way they did with gas stations.”
As for reaching the proposed legislation’s goal of 2040, Mungall said it’s a feasible deadline for the government and car manufacturers.
“If we tried to say, okay, all new vehicles that are going to be sold are going to be ZEV by 2025, we just wouldn’t make that. It would sound nice but it wouldn’t be possible.
“So we had to look in the realm of possibility for adoption rates and so on. Already B.C. saw 12 per cent of vehicles sold in 2018 were ZEV. So being able to reach a 10 per cent target by 2025 is very, very possible.”