British Columbia to phase out petrol-fuelled cars

British Columbia has become the latest region in a global movement of zero-emissions policies, announcing plans to phase out the sale of new petrol-fuelled cars in the province by 2040.

The announcement comes on the back of a similar plan unveiled last week in California that served as a foundation for the BC proposal. Sixteen countries – among them China, France, Japan, and the UK – are pursuing a phase-out of fossil fuel-powered cars.

BC’s zero-emissions law would also make electric vehicles more affordable through a rebate programme, the government of BC said in its announcement on Wednesday [10 April].

“British Columbians are eager to make the switch to zero-emission vehicles, but price and availability can be barriers,” Michelle Mungall, the BC minister of energy, said in the statement.

Under the draft law, electric vehicles will be required to account for 10% of new “light-duty” vehicle sales by 2025, 30% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. The automaker requirements would kick off in 2020.

The law, based on plans introduced in Quebec and California, would also offer car buyers up to Can$5,000 for the purchase or lease new battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and up to Can$6,000 for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

BC already has the highest per capita rate of zero-emission vehicles in Canada – averaging 4% of new light-duty vehicle sales in 2018 – and one of the largest public charging and hydrogen fuelling networks. One in three British Columbians expects their next car to be an EV, according to BC Hydro.

However, BC drivers often face a scarcity of electric cars at dealerships, as well as long wait lists, according to Clean Energy Canada, a thinktank based in Simon Fraser University. The new legislation will help boost demand, “making it easier for people to go electric.”


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