March 16, 2015 11:41 pm
Updated: March 17, 2015 4:16 am

B.C. government offers incentives to buy electric cars

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WATCH: The provincial government is hoping that two announcements, one today and one next week, will make it more tempting than ever to buy an electric car. Jennifer Palma reports.

The B.C. government announced a new program that they hope will encourage consumers to make the jump to electric cars and more incentives are on the way.

The Scrap-It Program offers a $3,000 rebate for drivers who trade in their pre-2000 vehicle for an electric vehicle.

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Electric cars can be a hard sell. On average they cost 25 per cent more than a gas-powered vehicle and can be tough to conveniently recharge. Sales of electric cars were chugging along with the help of a rebate program previously offered by the B.C. government, but that expired last year. Since then, dealerships say electric car sales have stalled.

“I have heard from some of our members that they’ve had customers come in having a look at some of these potentially qualifying vehicles and said, ‘Gee, I’m going to see wait and see when the incentive [arrives]. If it’s going to be a few weeks, I’m going to hang on,'” says Blair Qualey, President & CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

READ MORE: Public chargers for electric cars increase awareness, but not sales

Those looking for a break may not have to wait much longer. B.C. Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett told Global News today he’s making an announcement that will re-introduce the Clean Energy Vehicle incentive program.

“It’s a $10.5 million program,” says Bennett. “It’ll provide some meaningful incentives for people to go and buy electric cars. With the Scrap-It Program, together it’s going to really encourage people to consider an electric car.”

Details of how much consumers will save haven’t been released, but the previous program offered electric car buyers savings of up to $5,000. Combine that with the Scrap-It Program and the savings could be substantial.

The program could also help curb emissions.

“The core objective of the program was to make an air quality difference and reduce carbon emissions,” says Dennis Rogoza of the Scrap-It Program. “We’ve done a lot of studies about old cars and some of these old cars are 60 to 500 times more polluting than a newer one.”

-with files from Jennifer Palma

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