Slow tran­si­tion to clean en­ergy ve­hi­cles

The Prince George Citizen - - Auto -

There is no deny­ing that ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs) are the wave of the fu­ture but they are also an im­por­tant fac­tor to­day, as each of us con­sider what we can do on a per­sonal level for the en­vi­ron­ment. In­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions have var­ied ideas and opin­ions about how best to in­crease the adop­tion rate of elec­tric ve­hi­cles in this prov­ince – and B.C.’s New Car Deal­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (NCDA) shares the de­sire to en­cour­age greater EV adop­tion as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Ide­ally, ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy ve­hi­cles such as electrics would be a so­lu­tion for ev­ery in­di­vid­ual and fam­ily, but that sim­ply isn’t the re­al­ity in Bri­tish Columbia at this time.

B.C. is a re­source-based prov­ince in which ge­og­ra­phy and weather in some re­gions mean an elec­tric ve­hi­cle is sim­ply not a vi­able op­tion for ev­ery fam­ily or busi­ness. In the In­te­rior and North in par­tic­u­lar, a ro­bust charg­ing net­work is re­quired be­fore we are go­ing to see greater EV adop­tion. In a prov­ince in which af­ford­abil­ity is an is­sue, the cost of newer model EVs is not nec­es­sar­ily within the reach of ev­ery in­di­vid­ual or fam­ily. Fur­ther­more, elec­tric ve­hi­cles are merely one route to re­duc­ing green­house gases – at this point in time. Newer model gaso­line pow­ered ve­hi­cles also play an im­por­tant role in re­duc­tions, as man­u­fac­tur­ers un­veil new in­ter­nal com­bus­tion mod­els that are much more fuel ef­fi­cient with each pass­ing year.

B.C. cur­rently leads the coun­try in EV adop­tion and in the past three and half years, the CEV­forBC Pro­gram has ap­proved more than 8,400 in­cen­tives for clean en­ergy ve­hi­cle pur­chases for BC res­i­dents and busi­nesses. Our As­so­ci­a­tion has cre­ated com­pe­ti­tion be­tween deal­er­ships across the prov­ince to de­ter­mine who can reach the high­est level of sales of clean en­ergy ve­hi­cles across all brands. How­ever, we can all agree more needs to be done to move as many con­sumers to elec­tric ve­hi­cles as pos­si­ble.

Some would sug­gest that auto man­u­fac­tur­ers should be forced to sell an ar­bi­trary min­i­mum num­ber of elec­tric ve­hi­cles in our market as one so­lu­tion, but we be­lieve such an ap­proach would be counter-pro­duc­tive and not pos­si­ble. Even with am­bi­tious in­creases in EV pur­chases by B.C. con­sumers, the only way to meet reg­u­lated quo­tas would be to re­strict the sale of new non-EV ve­hi­cles to the prov­ince in or­der avoid penal­ties. As a re­sult, many Bri­tish Columbians would be pre­vented from buy­ing a ve­hi­cle that meets their fam­ily’s needs or that of their busi­ness.

It would also mean ad­di­tional costs to man­u­fac­tur­ers who would have no choice but to add those costs across all their new ve­hi­cle line­ups.

New Car Deal­ers ad­vo­cate an ap­proach through which mem­bers con­tinue to ed­u­cate con­sumers, there is on­go­ing plan­ning and in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port greater elec­tric ve­hi­cle us­age and op­por­tu­ni­ties, while main­tain­ing ve­hi­cle point of sale pur­chase in­cen­tives – so the re­al­i­ties that are ob­sta­cles to­day, aren’t ob­sta­cles in the fu­ture.

Blair Qualey is pres­i­dent and CEO of the New Car Deal­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of B.C. bqua­[email protected]­cardeal­ers.ca.

CIT­I­ZEN NEWS SER­VICE PHOTO BY JONATHAN HAY­WARD

An elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing sign is pic­tured in Squamish, B.C., in 2016.

BLAIR QUALEY

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