In a pioneering decision, the Government of British Columbia is advancing its goal to transition to zero-emission vehicles. Adjustments to the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, rolled out on Tuesday, mandate that all new light-duty vehicles sold in the province should attain zero-emission status by 2035. Previously, the province vowed to complete this transformation by 2040.
The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act presents the government’s groundbreaking policy: the first-ever legislated electric vehicle (EV) sales target. Undeniably, British Columbia leads Canada’s endeavor towards electrifying transportation. Spurred by the program’s success, the province now enforces more quickly its 100 per cent EV sales goal, aiming to reach it half a decade sooner than anticipated. The moves adopted today promise a simplified transition for drivers contemplating their next vehicle purchase options, by providing a broader range of vehicles contributing to decreased pollution and cleaner air.
Since the introduction of the ZEV Act in 2019, the province has continuously surpassed its yearly sales expectations. Less than a year back, in July 2020, the goal was to achieve “at least 10 per cent” zero-emission vehicle sales by 2025. In addition, stretched goals included reaching 30 per cent by 2030 and a full transition to 100 per cent by 2040.
In a surprising shift, nearly 21 per cent of all newly sold light-duty passenger vehicles in the province in 2023 were electric, doubling the original target intended for 2025. The updated schedule, announced on Tuesday, intends to reach 26 per cent ZEVs by 2026, a phenomenal leap to 90 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2035.
According to George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy, this new ZEV objective reflects the resounding success of their strategies to steer towards greener modes of transportation swiftly. The course of action adopted not only aims to create a cleaner British Columbia but also to accomplish CleanBC’s mission of reducing emissions by 40 per cent in the next decade.
Emphasizing their commitment to a cleaner future, the province has also reinvigorated their Go Electric EV Charger Rebate Program with additional funding of 7 million dollars. The rebate program aims to promote electric vehicle charging infrastructure installation at homes, workplaces and multi-residential buildings.
Owing to a greater-than-expected demand, funding for the program exhausted earlier this year. The province plans to resume accepting applications for single-family homes and workplaces on October 31.
Transportation accounts for a significant portion, about 38 per cent, of B.C.’s emissions, according to the federal Canada Energy Regulator. Despite boasting some of the country’s lowest per-capita emissions, B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions had decreased a mere 3 per cent from 2005 levels, as of 2020. With the new push for zero-emission vehicles, the province is playing a crucial role in the national endeavor to reduce emissions and combat climate change.