A direct-current fast charging station for electric vehicles at Squamish. (Black Press files)

B.C.’s subsidized electric vehicle sales gaining speed

Vehicle ’luxury tax’ lands on work pickups, MLAs reminded

*This article has been updated. The previous version contained incomplete data on California vehicle incentives.

B.C.’s electric car incentives are working, but other policy changes would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions more, says the head of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

The additional $10 million put toward zero-emission vehicle subsidies is appreciated, Blair Qualey told the B.C. legislature finance committee Wednesday. But he said there is more B.C. can do to cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, the largest source in the provincial economy.

The province is under increased pressure to drive down emissions from transportation, building heat and other sources, to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets while construction begins on the province’s first large-scale liquefied natural gas export facility at Kitimat.

The province recharged its electric vehicle incentive fund in September when applications to the fund showed the original $27 million budget for the year was about to run out. The point-of-sale incentive program, administered by the New Car Dealers, provides up to $5,000 for purchase or leaase of a new battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, or up to $6,000 for the emerging technology of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

RELATED: B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

RELATED: Electric vehicles get free pass to use HOV lanes in B.C.

The association says electric vehicles represented 3.7 per cent of new car sales in June 2018, with more than 1,400 vehicle incentive applications paid out in April and June.

The association conducted a survey in September that found two out of five drivers are “definitely” or “probably” considering an electric vehicle. While the survey shows many urban dwellers are able to use an electric car for their daily commuting and other needs, Qualey said the prospect of batteries running out continues to be a deterrent to switching from gasoline and diesel vehicles.

“It’s not like you can get a gas can and go fill it up,” Qualey said. “You’d have to get towed somewhere.”

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton asked about the association’s long-running request for changes to the escalating “luxury tax” on the purchase of new vehicles costing more than $55,000. One-ton pickups are exempt from the tax, prompting some buyers to choose them for work when a lighter truck would do the job with lower emissions, Qualey said.

New categories of the surtax on luxury vehicles came into effect in April, adding an eight per cent surtax on vehicles costing $125,000 or more and 13 per cent on those costing $150 or more.

Qualey suggested the province could consider a luxury tax on high-end jewelry or other purchases rather than focusing on vehicles.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Rossland council passes plastic bag ban despite legal questions

Appeal court ruling threw bylaw in limbo, but council voted to move forward

Abra Brynne wins Kootenay-Columbia Green Party nomination

Brynne is one of three candidates who will challenge MP Wayne Stetski

Police call Appledale death a homicide

But few other details being released

Fire engulfs car on weekend

No one injured in incident

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read