B.C. electric car incentive program ends as popularity grows
They're still for sale — but don't expect a provincial $5,000 rebate for electric vehicles any more as the program ended in February right after enjoying its most popular month ever. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
"The money the government expends on those incentives they get back in charging revenue. Electric cars use B.C. energy."
— Bruce Stout, VEVA
Advocates of electrically powered vehicles want Victoria to reinstate a $5,000-per-car incentive, as new provincial numbers show the program was at its most popular point just a month before the money ran out.
The $4.7-million Clean Energy Vehicle incentive program ended in February. But January of this year actually saw the highest number of sales ever, 90 in one month, where rebates were sought.
Before that, the monthly purchase numbers had always drifted from a low of 12 and a high of 65 — though it was clear sales had picked up towards the latter end of the program.
According to the numbers, a total of 946 vehicles were purchased between the program’s start in November 2011 and now.
The Ministry of Environment said in a statement it’s “assessing” the program’s results “to determine what, if any, additional measures are required to encourage the adoption of CEVs.”
Veronica Owens, chairwoman of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, said on Wednesday that the numbers clearly show there was a demand for the program.
She said the later, higher numbers were likely due to a “domino effect” of more people purchasing as those who’ve already taken advantage of the incentive advertised to their families, friends and colleagues.
“As a result you sort of have this networking effect,” said Owens, who’s currently trying to convert a 1968 Volkswagen into an electric car.
Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association president Bruce Stout said he’s written more than two-dozen letters to provincial politicians to reinstate the program, but has never heard back.
“There’s a $8,500 rebate in Quebec, $7,500 rebate in Ontario, no rebate in B.C,” he said.
“Electric cars use B.C. energy. It’s a really good investment on the government part to give that incentive out because they get it all back.”