The B.C. government recently extended its electric vehicle program to more buyers, but the program still largely subsidizes wealthier, larger-living homeowners while leaving most renters and condo owners in the dark.Last weekend the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources announced it cut its EV subsidy from $5,000 to $3,000 in order to extend the incentive to 3,800 more buyers amid a big surge in demand. Absent in its announcement was any help for environmentally minded urban dwellers who are keen to buy a greener vehicle but who lack the ability to charge at home.B.C.’s EV subsidies only cover those that must be plugged into an outlet or charging station. That’s easy for people who live in detached houses or duplexes with driveways or garages.But few renters or owners of most condos have access to so much as a wall socket if they happen to have a dedicated parking space at all. Those B.C. residents are effectively limited to purchasing conventional hybrid vehicles if they want to go green, but the province provides no subsidy for those rides.B.C. recently passed legislation that requires all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in the province to be zero-emission vehicles by 2040. Conventional hybrids don’t offer the level of emissions reductions required to meet that target, according to a statement from the ministry.“Conventional hybrid vehicles essentially use the traditional combustion engine technology whereas plug-in hybrids (for which government offers rebates) are closer to being fully electric and only switch to the internal combustion engine component when the vehicle’s battery levels are inadequate to power the vehicle,” according to the ministry.Charging a vehicle at home is not the only way to keep an electric vehicle running, but it is by far the most convenient. And as staff at the City of Vancouver found in a recent report, that’s a significant issue for many prospective green vehicle buyers.“Access to home charging is a key enabler for switching to electric vehicles. Renters face a significant barrier to adding home charging if their building is not already equipped with charging infrastructure, and cost has been flagged as the greatest barrier to adding charging in multi-family buildings,” says the report.
‘Access to home charging is a key enabler for switching to electric vehicles,’ says a recent City of Vancouver report. ‘Renters face a significant barrier to adding home charging if their building is not already equipped with charging infrastructure, and cost has been flagged as the greatest barrier to adding charging in multi-family buildings.’
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The Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association has called the lack of existing infrastructure in multi-unit residential buildings “one of the biggest impediments for prospective EV buyers in urban areas.” It can be expensive to retrofit charging infrastructure and some strata councils have resisted installation requests, according to VEVA.“We would like to see the provincial government take aggressive action to improve this situation,” VEVA said in a call for substantial rebates for installing EV infrastructure.The ministry has funded rebates toward the cost of EV charging equipment in multi-unit residences and single-family homes through its Charging Solutions and Incentives Program, but that program was fully subscribed as of last year, according to Plug In B.C. More than 100 apartment buildings or condos have taken advantage of that program to date, and around 300 more had received incentives through its earlier iterations, according to the ministry.Ian Neville, a climate policy analyst with the City of Vancouver, said staff in his municipality are now working on a neighbourhood charging strategy to install infrastructure in areas of the city where residents don’t tend to have access to off-street home charging infrastructure. That infrastructure could include things like light-pole charging, charging stands in parks or outside schools and community centres, he said. The city aims to have a fast charging hub within a 10-minute drive of anywhere in the city, he said.Vancouver now requires every parking space in development permit applications for multi-family buildings be EV-ready, Neville said. Looking forward, something he said he was personally interested in was boosting EV infrastructure for renters, and particularly for lower and middle-income families.“We really want to see EV charging and EVs become a much more equitable solution,” he said. EVs have traditionally been viewed “as more of a luxury market item,” but those who can get into an EV stand to save big on fuel costs, he said.“There are some real equity benefits if you can support that initial charging piece.”firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated
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