Energy Minister Bill Bennett wants to have five per cent of new vehicles sold in B.C. be electric in three years. (Black Press)

B.C. increases electric vehicle incentive fund

The B.C. commits $40 million to fund $5,000 subsidies for buying zero-emission cars.

The B.C. government is committing $40 million in its pre-election budget to fund more $5,000 rebates for buying zero-emission cars, and to extend its electric car charging network to allow longer trips.

Charging stations already allow a drive from Vancouver to Hope, and with federal and provincial help, one plan is to support an all-electric trip from Hope to Calgary via Highway 3, said B.C. Energy Minister Bill Bennett.

“The tourism industry in southern B.C. thinks that there could be a developing trend of people with electric vehicles wanting to go where there is reliable charging infrastructure, and we want to have it, so that will be built out over the next year,” Bennett said in an interview.

The $40 million fund is in the budget for the next three years, and the goal is to increase electric vehicle use in B.C. from two per cent to five during that time. Buyers of approved new electric vehicles, worth up to $77,000, get $5,000 back via the dealership.

B.C.’s SCRAP-IT program has increased its incentive for replacing an old car with a new electric vehicle to $6,000, making it possible to get $11,000 off. SCRAP-IT also has a $3,000 rebate for taking a qualifying old vehicle off the road and replacing it with a used electric car.

The SCRAP-IT program also offers 500 towards the cost of bicycles, electric bicycles, electric scooters and transit passes when someone scraps an older vehicle. Qualifying old cars can now be any year, but must be in working order and continuously insured for use until applying to turn it in for scrap.

B.C. currently has 4,800 zero emission vehicles on the road, a two per cent adoption rate that is the highest in Canada. There are 1,100 public standard charging stations and 30 fast-charging stations in operation around the province.

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