Is this the year you go electric? Electric vehicle, that is

Electric vehicle charging Photo by Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock

The federal government wants you to buy an electric vehicle. To reduce our collective reliance on fossil fuels, the feds say that “electrification is key to decarbonizing our transportation sector and transitioning to a low-carbon future.” The target is to have 10 per cent of vehicle sales to be zero-emission by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2040. To help you along on making the decision to switch, the government is offering incentives of up to $5,000.

So how are we doing on those targets? Well, we’ve got a ways to go, according to Electric Mobility Canada, a non-profit dedicated to promoting electric vehicles and electric transportation. In a recent sales report, the group said that only 3.5 per cent of passenger vehicle sales in Canada were zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) since the introduction of the federal rebate in May 2019.

Some provinces are doing noticeably better. ZEV sales account for 7 per cent of the total in Quebec (where the government offers rebates of up to $8,000). In British Columbia, ZEVs account for 10 per cent of sales (the top rebate in B.C. is $3,000 or, if you scrap a high-polluting vehicle, up to $6,000).

In fact, sales were up in almost every province in the third quarter of 2019 when compared to 2018. Increases ranged from a modest 24 per cent rise in Alberta to a whopping 575 per cent jump in P.E.I. (although this reflected sales going from only four vehicles to 27). But one province stands out as a laggard: ZEV sales declined in Ontario, from 5,609 to 3,127, representing a 44 per cent drop. No surprise there, since the Ford government cancelled its rebate program for electric vehicles.

Gravenhurst considering e-vehicle charging stations

Meanwhile, you can learn about electric vehicles and go for a test drive in one. Georgian Bay Forever is holding an event on April 25, at the Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre in Toronto. You could also be eligible to receive a $1,000 rebate on the purchase of a used electric vehicle from Plug ’N Drive, the non-profit that runs this centre. So what are you waiting for?

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