The British Columbia government is fast-tracking its commitment to a more sustainable future by hastening its shift to zero-emission vehicles. Tuesday saw the announcement of modifications to the Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Act which now necessitates 100% of new light-duty vehicles sold in the province to be emission-free by 2035, five years earlier than the original goal set for 2040.
The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, a first-of-its-kind legislation that mandates an EV sales target, was enacted by our government, demonstrating its continuous leadership in cleaner alternatives. As British Columbia emerges as a frontrunner in Canada’s transition to electric vehicles, this early move corresponds to our proven track record and success in this sector. The revisions aim to simplify the shift for drivers opting for their next vehicle purchase, fostering a wider array of choices. This, in turn, will minimize pollution, contributing to fresher and cleaner air.
In context of the ministry’s reports, the province has surpassed its yearly sales targets consistently since the ZEV Act’s inception in 2019. As recently as 2020, the province’s goals stipulated zero-emission vehicles to constitute a minimum of 10% of sales by 2025, escalating to 30% by 2030, and culminating in 100% by 2040.
Fast-forward to 2023, electric vehicles currently constitute almost 21% of all newly sold light-duty passenger vehicles in the province, doubling from the original target set for 2025. Correspondingly, the updated timeline announced Tuesday outlines 26% of vehicle sales to be ZEVs by 2026, a steep rise to 90% by 2030, and eventually a full shift to 100% by 2035.
These new targets signify the effectiveness of our strides towards cleaner transportation solutions, ultimately serving CleanBC’s aim to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030. Policy adjustments aligning with the growing demand for cleaner vehicles will further simplify the switch to electric vehicles for many more individuals.
Along similar lines, the province has revitalized its Go Electric EV Charger Rebate Program through an infusion of $7 million. This initiative is designed to offer first-come, first-serve funding towards installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure at homes, workplaces, and multi-unit residential buildings. Unfortunately, due to surpassing demand, the program’s funding was depleted earlier this year. However, applications from single-family homes and workplaces will be accepted once again from Oct. 31.
Accounting for approximately 38% of B.C.’s emissions, transportation is the province’s main polluter, as per the federal Canada Energy Regulator. Despite B.C. boasting comparably low per-capita emissions, only a 3% decline in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels has been noted as of 2020. This new incentive towards broader adoption of electric vehicles seeks to significantly push the curve downwards on these figures.