The regional district is pulling $7,000 from reserves earmarked for “climate action” to install a dedicated charging station for its recently purchased electric vehicle, and to fund a “pilot” that will study the efficacy of having an electric vehicle in the local government fleet.
This initiative was taken following the board of directors declaring a “climate action imperative” back in October, giving staff 180 days to report back on the status of climate change actions and what additional actions the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) could take to reduce its carbon footprint.
Freya Phillips, Senior Energy Specialist, says 33 per cent of regional district’s GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) came from transportation in 2018, so this is one of the key areas where emissions could be reduced.
Further, she pointed to the RDKB Fleet Vehicle Replacement policy, which states the regional district shall use a “green vehicle” purchasing strategy wherever possible in replacement of light or passenger vehicles.
“This will assist the RDKB to meet its corporate goal of carbon neutrality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Phillips advised in a Dec. 11 memo.
“This also provides the opportunity for the RDKB to demonstrate leadership within our communities on how people and businesses can reduce their GHG emissions.”
After replacing a 2008 Ford Escape for the building inspection department with a Hyundai Kona EV (Electric Vehicle) last month, the board agreed to use $2,000 from climate action reserves to install a Level 2 Charger at the Trail office.
Phillips says the new charging station will reduce the juicing time from 60 hours at a Level 1 charger (common electrical outlet) to 10 hours, thereby allowing greater usage in the Lower Columbia.
The charging station, to be installed by regional district staff, will also provide data on the Kona EV usage and its charging requirements.
As well, with $5,000 green-lighted toward the “EV Pilot,” that program will fully launch this month.
“(This) program will allow staff to try out a new electric vehicle on common trips between the RDKB Trail and Grand Forks offices,” regional spokesperson Frances Maika clarified.
“This longer, more demanding travel will provide data to help the RDKB study the suitability of electric vehicles for the RDKB fleet.”
The EV Pilot will culminate in a Low Carbon Fleet Management report from Phillips. (Her RDKB Senior Energy Specialist position is funded through FortisBC).
Phillips says five vehicles within the RDKB price range were reviewed. Features like operating costs, driving range, and safety features, were considered as was the aftercare, such as nearby warranty servicing locales.
The Hyundai Kona EV come out top of the comparison due to price, driving range, space and comfort, and servicing in Castlegar.
In May 2019, the B.C. government introduced new legislation to phase out gas-powered vehicles and requires all new light-duty cars and trucks to be zero-emission vehicles by 2040.
This legislation also requires automakers to reach a zero emissions vehicle sales target of 10 per cent by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030.
One of the key zero-emissions light-duty vehicles is a battery electric vehicle (BEV).
A BEV runs entirely on electricity, using it to power an electric motor and battery, so it must be plugged into an external source to fully recharge.
Phillips says there are now more than 30,000 electric vehicles (BEV and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) on the road in B.C, and they make up nine per cent of light-duty vehicles sold in the province.