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

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.

BC legislatureElectric vehicles

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo City Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
Councillors have a chance to tweak project timelines in City of Nanaimo’s financial plan

Potential property tax increase now at 3.0 per cent, budget meetings continuing

The driver of a car that crashed in downtown Nanaimo Tuesday is facing multiple charges. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
RCMP recommending impaired driving charge after crash into lamp post in downtown Nanaimo

Driver sped away after ‘heated argument’ in another part of downtown, say RCMP

A 53-unit building to be built at 6010 Hammond Bay Rd. (City of Nanaimo image)
Province announces support for 50 units of affordable housing on Hammond Bay Road

Building B.C. Community Housing Fund partners with Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society

Beef to the business at the mall that told me I had to provide personal information for COVID tracing. After assuring me I would not receive marketing e-mails, they proceeded to send me e-mails promoting their business.
Beefs & Bouquets, Dec. 2

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

A truck arrives with a load of logs at Western Forest Products’ mill in Ladysmith. More work will be coming to the Ladysmith sawmill in February, says WFP. (Black Press file photo)
More work at Ladysmith mill in new year, says Western Forest Products

Company says Ladysmith operation to see second shift in February

Eric Byres, industrial control engineer and CEO of Lantzville-based aDolus Technology, didn’t expect his company to win the 2020 New Ventures B.C. competition, but says he will use the $135,000 in first-place prize money to hire more development staff. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Lantzville-based cyber-security start-up wins $135K innovation competition

Industrial control systems security company, aDolus Technology, wins New Ventures B.C.’s top prize

Island Health is expanding COVID-19 testing in Nanaimo with a new testing location at Vancouver Island University. (News Bulletin file photo)
Island Health expands COVID-19 testing in Nanaimo

Health authority opens new testing site with double the capacity at Vancouver Island University

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read