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B.C. putting up $30M to help build 500 new public EV charging stations

Click to play video: 'B.C. adding 500 public EV charging stations to fill gaps in network'
B.C. adding 500 public EV charging stations to fill gaps in network
WATCH: Drivers of electric vehicles in British Columbia can expect to see another 500 public charging stations, as the province expands its current supply. Cassidy Mosconi reports. – Mar 20, 2024

The British Columbia government has announced $30 million in new funding to support construction of 500 new electric vehicle charging stations across the province.

The funding will involve putting $80,000 towards the cost of a new fast charging station, with priority given to applications at highly accessible places like community centres, libraries and highway rest stops.

“We are helping to reduce range anxiety by prioritizing these new stations to fill geographic gaps that we have in the network, and we are going to have a real focus on rural, northern and First Nations communities,” Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Minister Josie Osborne said Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'B.C. making big investment in electric vehicle charging network'
B.C. making big investment in electric vehicle charging network

The new stations will add to an estimated 5,000 fast charging stations that make up B.C.’s existing network.

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The move comes amid a growing appetite among British Columbians for electric vehicles.

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Osborne said 23 per cent of all new light-duty vehicles sold in 2023 were electric, up from 18 per cent the year before.

The federal government has mandated that by 2035, 100 per cent of all new light-duty vehicles be zero emission, while B.C. has set a similar target of 2040, as a part of plans to reduce the pace of climate change.

B.C. currently offers rebates of up to $4,000 on certain electric vehicles, while the federal government offers up to $5,000.

Blair Qualey, president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. said consumers collected 22,000 of those rebates in 2023, an all-time record for the province.

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EV rebates: Canada mulling over new strategy as program set to expire

But he said with more EVs on the road, the charging infrastructure needs to grow.

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“This is no small feat and requires ongoing investment to keep up pace with the demand,” he said.

Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association government relations chair Robert Sparks said the focus on rural and remote communities was a good step.

But his group still wants to see EV charging infrastructure to be on par with the accessibility of gas stations.

“Availability of charging is a familiar question people ask when considering buying an electric vehicle,” he said. “Making electric charging more available, accessible and reliable are critical next steps in supporting electric vehicle adoption and furthering our collective goals of reducing (greenhouse gas) emissions.”

The province says it remains on track to complete its “electric highway” goal of charging coverage along all highways and major roads by 2024. The province aims to have a network of 10,000 public charging stations by 2030.

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Consumer Matters: EV battery replacement cost reality check

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