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Province accelerates zero-emission vehicle targets

Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

British Columbia is accelerating its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) targets.

If passed, the amendments to the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act will help increase access and choice for ZEV car buyers, while new provincial funding will help expand B.C.’s charging network.

“With the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, our government was the first in the world to put an EV sales target into law,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, in a news release. “British Columbia is the leader in Canada on the switch to electric vehicles, and thanks to the success we’ve seen, we’re accelerating our work so we can hit our 100% EV sales target five years earlier. The actions we’re taking today will make it easier for drivers to choose electric when they make their next vehicle purchase, with even more choices available to reduce pollution and contribute to cleaner air.”

The ZEV Act amendments will require automakers to meet an escalating annual percentage of new light-duty ZEV sales and leases, reaching 26% of light-duty vehicle sales by 2026, 90% by 2030 and 100% by 2035, five years ahead of the original target.

B.C. has consistently exceeded its annual ZEV sales targets since the ZEV Act was first passed in 2019. So far in 2023, electric vehicles made up nearly 21% of all new light-duty passenger vehicles sold in B.C., the highest percentage for any province or territory in Canada.

“This updated ZEV target reflects the success of our measures to shift rapidly to cleaner transportation,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We’re taking action to encourage a cleaner British Columbia, while making headway on CleanBC’s mission to reduce emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. These changes also support rising demand for cleaner vehicles on the roads and will make it easier for more people to choose an electric vehicle.”

The ZEV Act supports British Columbia’s transition to ZEVs for personal and commercial use, and B.C.’s CleanBC goals to reduce greenhouse gasses, increase economic opportunities and improve community health.

Along with the ZEV Act amendments, British Columbia’s Go Electric EV Charger Rebate Program for homes, workplaces and multi-unit residential buildings has been recharged with $7 million in provincial funding to fully reopen the first-come, first-serve program. The rebate program’s funds were exhausted earlier in the year due to higher-than-anticipated demand. EV charger rebate applications for single-family homes and workplaces will reopen on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023.

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