Montreal mayor unveils ambitious plan for EV sharing fleet

By Jonny Wakefield

April 30, 2015

Montreal has upped the ante for electric car sharing fleets in North America. 

Earlier this month, Mayor Denis Coderre announced an ambitious plan to have more than 1,000 fully electric vehicles on the roads of Canada's second-largest city by 2020, putting as many as 250 new EVs on Montreal streets by next spring.

The move is the centrepiece of a plan to reduce the city's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 30 per cent by 2020. But it's not without its critics.

The mayor's electrification plan would strip the city's borough's of the power to issue the universal parking permits that incentivize use of existing car sharing fleets by allowing drivers more leeway in where they park. Under the new rules, only EVs would be issued the coveted permits. Coderre's scheme would also greatly expand the number of charging stations across the city. Those facilities would be available to anyone driving an electric vehicle.

The city expects to have calls for proposals out by the fall, the Montreal Gazette reports.

Representatives of Car2Go, a company that operates a car share fleet in the city, greeted the news with optimism, telling the Gazette "this means [Car2Go] can keep on growing."  However, a spokesperson for Communauto, a smaller car share service, was less enthused because the plan would mean the company would have to go through a bid process, which it has not been required to do.

Project Montreal councillor Alex Norris opposed the plan, saying it risked creating a "potential monopoly that will cost more to consumers." 

"It's troubling to us that the mayor is putting at risk an existing system that carries no risk to the taxpayer, that's expensive, that's growing rapidly, that's popular," Norris told the Gazette.

While a recent study found EVs do more harm than good in provinces that rely on dirty energy sources like coal, EV emissions in Quebec are "close to zero," researchers found. That means a large car sharing fleet would likely contribute significantly to the city's GHG reduction plan. 

EVs recently got a kick-start in B.C. In March, the province renewed a purchase incentive program funded out of the carbon tax. That program will make $7.5 million in rebates available for EV and fuel cell buyers—including a $5,000 credit for the purchase of an EV.



Photo Credit: Wikimedia