The B.C. Liberals have announced another promise to be included in the throne speech set for Thursday, a $50 million continuation of electric car charging stations.
Environment Minister Jordan Sturdy said the program depends on the B.C. Liberal government surviving to deliver its latest spending promise, as the B.C. NDP and Greens plan to vote down the throne speech and install an NDP minority government.
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“Given the confidence of the house, we plan to announce a $50 million investment over five years, for an additional 4,321 new charging stations,” Sturdy told reporters in a conference call Tuesday.
Most of those will be standard stations that can charge a vehicle in five hours, with $12 million set aside for 110 fast charging stations that can get drivers back on the road in 30 minutes.
The announcement comes as Premier Christy Clark visits the Site C dam project near Fort St. John, meeting with supporters of the project. Green leader Andrew Weaver is in the region meeting with opponents, including representatives of the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations who have challenged the dam project in court.
Details of the new charging station locations were not provided. Sturdy said they would be installed across the province.
This funding is in addition to the B.C. Liberal government’s pre-election budget, which committed $40 million to fund more $5,000 rebates for buying zero-emission cars, and to extend its electric car charging network to allow longer trips.
Electrics can go from Vancouver to Hope, and with federal and provincial assistance, one plan is to support an all-electric trip from Hope to Calgary via Highway 3, Energy Minister Bill Bennett said in February.
The $40 million fund in the budget, not yet approved, is for the next three years. The goal is to increase electric vehicle use in B.C. from two per cent to five during that time. Buyers of approved new electric vehicles, worth up to $77,000, get $5,000 back via the dealership.
B.C.’s SCRAP-IT program has also increased its incentive for replacing an old car with a new electric vehicle to $6,000, making it possible to get a total of $11,000 off. SCRAP-IT also has a $3,000 rebate for taking an old vehicle off the road and replacing it with a qualifying used electric car.
The SCRAP-IT program also offers 500 towards the cost of bicycles, electric bicycles, electric scooters and transit passes when someone scraps an older vehicle. Qualifying old cars can now be any year, but must be in working order and continuously insured for use until applying to turn it in for scrap.
B.C. currently has 4,800 zero emission vehicles on the road, a two per cent adoption rate that is the highest in Canada. There are 1,100 public standard charging stations and 30 fast-charging stations in operation around the province.