By 2040, all cars sold in B.C. will be clean energy vehicles, the province pledged today.

Premier John Horgan announced a clean energy vehicle mandate, which will begin by requiring 10 per cent of all vehicles sold in the province by 2025 to be clean energy vehicles, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040.

"There's nothing more important than taking care of the place we call home," Horgan said. "As a province, we need to work together to put B.C. on a path that powers our future with clean, renewable energy and reduces air pollution."

He linked the policy to climate change, saying, “After two consecutive fire seasons that set records in terms of hectares burned, individuals affected, buildings destroyed, it’s clear that we are certainly not immune to changes in our climate.”

This is the first announcement as part of an upcoming economic plan focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the province by 40 per cent by 2030, and 60 per cent by 2040 and 80 per cent by 2050, Horgan said.

Meeting those targets was always going to be a challenge, but with the recently announced approval of an LNG plant in Kitimat, which will add significant emissions into our atmosphere, it's going to require even more drastic change.

About 14 per cent of B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions come from personal transportation, Clean Energy BC says.

“These targets will only be achieved if British Columbians buy into them,” Horgan said.

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, Horgan's power-sharing partner, owns a Nissan Leaf.

"I think we’re going to actually beat these standards," Weaver said. "Once you’re in an EV, you’re never going back."

British Columbians want to do their part to reduce emissions and that 40 per cent of household emissions in B.C. come from transportation, Weaver said.

Earlier this fall, a National Observer column noted that people who want to buy electric cars can find it extremely difficult to find one for sale in B.C. A mandate should help ensure more of those vehicles will be available for purchasers.

"If we want British Columbians to be part of the solution for reducing air pollution, we need to make clean energy vehicles more affordable, available and convenient," Horgan said.

Dan Woynillowicz, policy director for Clean Energy Canada, said the new mandate will address the supply issue, because it will require vehicle manufacturers to ensure that certain percentages of their vehicles sold in B.C. are clean energy vehicles. If not, they will have to pay a fine or buy credits from another vehicle manufacturer. The exact details will be worked out in regulation.

That will also ensure that all different types of clean energy cars are available, including different models, Woynillowicz said.

The policy bodes well for the rest of B.C.'s climate plan, he said.

"This puts B.C. amongst the leaders and if that level of ambition — to be at the forefront of policy and results — holds true to other sectors and with the overall climate plan, that would be a great thing," Woynillowicz "It would bode well of our ability to beat the 2030 target. It's not an easy target to hit."

Horgan’s new pledge includes a goal of expanding to 151 the number of direct-current fast-charger sites in the province and immediately adding another $20 million to the purchase incentive program. The incentive program will be reviewed, with an eye to expanding it over time, the government said in its news release.

Under the incentive program, buyers can get rebates of up to $5,000 for battery or plug-in hybrid cars and up to $6,000 for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

B.C. already has a network of charging stations and more than 12,000 clean energy vehicles registered, which the government says is one of the highest adoption rates in the country.

Legislation requiring the change will be introduced next spring. Other countries are already further ahead – China is aiming for 10 per cent of new vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles by next year and India, Israel, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany have vowed to stop selling gasoline and diesel cars by 2030, while France, the UK and Scotland have promised to do the same a few years later. In Canada, Quebec is the only other province with a clean energy vehicle mandate.

Tracy Sherlock writes about B.C. politics for National Observer. Send your tips and ideas to [email protected]

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This news from the same man who promised to stop Site C Dam and not allow hydraulic fracturing. I don't put a lot of stock in his comments anymore.

Eliminating the 8.6 million tonnes of annual GHG emissions from all 3 million private autos in BC will help. However, with an average lifetime of 15 years, this plan will have internal combustion engines on our roads until 2055. However, that will only balance the estimated 8.5 million tonnes attributed to LNG Canada's Kitimat project, beginning in 2024. So - many further actions will be needed for BC to meet its legislated 2030 emission reductions target of around 25 million tonnes.

Yes. BC govt gave permits for LNG Canada project that is projected add 9 MtCO2 in climate pollution to BC total. That will erase all the climate benefit of switching every car and truck in BC to zero-emissions EV. And now we learn that BC isn't offering any more incentives to switch to EVs either. The LNG industry is placing a huge extra climate pollution burden on the rest of BC and yet the govt that approved this burden dumping isn't giving British Columbians any extra support in shouldering it via EV incentives. That's not going to end well for climate...

Yes, you're absolutely right. More should be revealed in the upcoming climate action plan.

It's not really very ambitious. At the rate the technology is moving, the costs are dropping, and the number of kinds of electric vehicle are increasing, 10% by 2025 is going to be following the trend, not leading it.
Make the incentives robust and easy to access, and mandate that car companies actually have available to sell in BC the electric cars they are supposedly offering, and we could beat 10% by 2021 or 2022 without even legislating a percentage.
Note that I'm not saying legislating percentages is bad or wrong. I'm all for it. But this one doesn't seem to really DO anything much.

I'm willing to tentatively give Horgan a little credit against his transgressions for this. The proof of the pudding will be in the nature and timing of rebates to purchasers, and installation of charging stations. Oh, and punishment of dealerships that don't actively participate.

If this is about changing mindsets, you know the 'I love my truck' or the 'I live in the North' or the 'it will never happen' minds, then why not focus on a fast build-out of plugin sites around the province. Make it visible so that people can start to trust in a switch to EVs. In the more densely populated areas, the local governments can mandate building code changes that require business areas to have a percentage of plugin sites that do the same thing, build trust. Mandates with incentives, pressure and support, that is the way to make change.

I think that demanding people switch -- without providing enough support for them to make that switch -- is how you destroy trust in climate policies. BC just told everyone they have to switch to EV (good) but then didn't provide any more incentives for that (fail). Regions with high EV sales percentages like BC is targetting currently offer many times more $ in EV incentives to buyers. Creating a climate mandate without supplying the conditions needed to meet that mandate is a recipe for climate policy backlash. Think about all the BC pickup truck owners hearing that govt says they need to switch to an EV pickup truck but are only offering them $5k in help to do that. Climate policies need to be funded to survive.

2040 is 10 years past the 12 year deadline stated as the conservative deadline to keep warming to an increase of 1.5%, recently issued in the UN IPCC report.

What’s he waiting for?

BC is a great place from climate standpoint to prioritize EVs because the electricity grid is 98% carbon-free. However, BC so far isn't offering anywhere close to the level of incentives needed to ensure a high percentage of new car sales are EVs. For example, Norway offers incentives worth over CDN $30,000 for buying an EV -- and 60% of new car sales are now EVs. Californians have incentives worth more than CDN$ 13,000 -- and 7% of new car sales are now EVs. BC incentives max out at CDN$ 5,000 -- and 3.4% of new cars sales are EVs.

While there are a good number of chargers in southern B.C. , they are as rare as hens' teeth north of Kamloops. I recently bought a Bolt, for which I had to go to Vancouver. It was quite feasible to drive it home (at a total fuel cost of $2.26 in 1,300 km), but there are stretches of more than 300 km without a single charger anywhere (Valemount to Prince George or Kamloops to Valemount, for example). A fast build-out for those is urgently needed. Also, Horgan needs to make BC Hydro change their recent move to make solar panels less attractive for residents as they won't pay for surplus into the grid anymore.

Well good for BC . They are on the right track with a government with a vision. Unlike Manitoba where I reside with a huge hydro supply available and I think we could count our total charge stations on one hand

Government subsidies for electric vehicles punish those of us who simply cannot afford a new car. Subsidies for Bombadeer are really offensive. Subsidies also transfer partial ownership to the rest of us who cannot afford a nice new electric vehicle. I can kick my fender or headlight any time as it is my fender or headlight, and I don't have to fix it. Volt, Tesla - beware.