To reach the target of only zero-emission vehicles being sold across Canada by 2040, the federal government announced $430 million of investments in the 2019 budget to entice residents to make the switch.
Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi released the details of the financial and accessibility incentives for Canadians at an electric car charging station outside the Londonderry Mall Simons in Edmonton Tuesday morning.
“Our solution is zero-emission vehicles. It is the future of transportation,” Sohi said. “If more Canadians are driving zero-emission vehicles, it will not only reduce pollution, it will reduce transportation costs for middle-class Canadians and for businesses.”
But Sohi noted these electric or hybrid vehicles have higher upfront costs and a financial incentive to lower the cost would entice Canadians. Starting May 1, residents who buy or lease a new zero-emission vehicle over the next three years are eligible for $5,000 from the government to lower the initial costs.
Vehicles with a retail price of less than $45,000 with six or fewer seats are eligible as well as cars with seven or more seats for a maximum retail price of $55,000. These discounts can be applied to new purchases of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Short-range plug-in hybrid vehicles are eligible for incentives of $2,500.
The total incentive investment from the federal government is $300 million over the next three years, Sohi said, as well as an additional $130 million to expand the network of charging and refuelling stations across the country.
Through investment in previous budgets, Sohi said the government has already installed 500 charging stations across the country. This is in addition to charging stations run by private companies, such as AddEnergie’s Flo Network which has about 40 charging stations in Edmonton alone.
“It is time to set ambitious goals and to give Canadians more choice in transportation,” Sohi said. “In the long term you save money on fuel, you save money on maintenance … so this is a win-win situation for everyone.”
In response to what the rise of electric vehicles means for the future of Alberta’s oil and gas sector, Sohi said those sources will continue to be a source of energy mix for decades to come, but has had a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Moving to zero-emission vehicles, Sohi said, is needed to help combat climate change.
“We need to invest in renewable energy sources and give (Canadians) the option of driving more cleaner and greener vehicles,” he said.
With the incentives, the goal of the federal government is to have zero-emission vehicles represent 10 per cent of vehicle sales by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2040.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019