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

Update with RDCK results: Castlegar voters choose Tassone as new mayor

Castlegar council balanced in gender and experience; RDCK goes for incumbent

UPDATED: John Dooley elected Nelson’s mayor

Logtenberg, Anderson, Woodward, Renwick, Morrison and Page elected to council

Meet your new city council

The municipal election candidates, in their own words

Meet your new mayor

Bruno Tassone is Castlegar’s new mayor.

15 new mayors to take office across the Kootenays

Here’s a look at the highlights from across the Kootenay region in B.C.

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read