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B.C. eager to go electric: over 50,000 EVs on the road

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, speaks at the Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition in Prince George Friday. Bill Phillips photo
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

VICTORIA – A record number of British Columbians have switched to electric vehicles (EVs) with more than 54,000 light-duty EVs registered in B.C., according to the newly released 2020 annual zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) update.

“With the highest reported uptake rates of EVs in North America, B.C. is quickly becoming a leader in the EV industry,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, in a news release. “Despite challenges from the pandemic, our EV sales remained steady in 2020, making it clear that British Columbians are committed to meeting our CleanBC goals and our transition to a clean energy future.”

According to the report, British Columbians are also adopting EV technology for less traditional vehicles, such as motorcycles and cargo e-bikes, through the Specialty-Use Vehicle Incentive (SUVI) program. Since the relaunch of the SUVI program in 2017, nearly 550 rebates have been provided for eligible vehicles.

“People in communities across British Columbia are increasingly choosing electric vehicles to reduce air pollution, and for a better driving experience and lower operating costs,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “This transition is happening because EVs and charging stations are becoming more affordable and available through CleanBC. By investing in cleaner, more affordable transportation options of all kinds, we’re reducing climate pollution and supporting new opportunities for people in a stronger economy.”

With a growing number of EVs on B.C. roads, the annual report also highlights measures the province is taking through ongoing and new CleanBC Go Electric programs to ensure the increasing demand for EVs is supported with vehicle and charging infrastructure rebates, education and training and the expansion of a public charging network. B.C. is not alone in its push toward greater EV uptake. The United States is setting ambitious new goals around EV manufacturing, deployment and charging, which could lead to even greater access to EV infrastructure around the continent for EV drivers.

The annual ZEV update tracks British Columbia’s progress respecting its zero-emission vehicle targets, and the 2020 update is the first report required under the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, which was implemented in 2019.

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