Government Funding Could Mean More Electric Cars for B.C. Roads

West Coast Electric Highway

By Arman Kazemi

July 17, 2014

A new round of funding from the Canadian Government’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) could mean more electric cars and chargers on roads across British Columbia.

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, along with representatives from BC Hydro and the government of British Columbia announced new funding under ecoEII for the British Columbia Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project.

According to a Natural Resources Canada press release on Monday, the federal government has committed $4.1 million to the project. If successful, electric vehicle infrastructure in B.C. will expand, adding 300 public charging stations and 30 fast chargers along major transportation corridors by 2016.

Part of the funding will also go towards the development of an electric vehicle data cloud – a central data collection system that will monitor the implementation of the charging infrastructure.

According to government figures, light-duty vehicles account for 15 per cent of all CO2 emissions in B.C. By reducing the contribution of passenger vehicles to these figures, BC Hydro, which heads the Vehicle Infrastructure Project, hopes to encourage further investment in the Canadian portion of the proposed West Coast Green Highway.

With infrastructure in place, according to BC Hydro, you’ll eventually “be able to drive an electric vehicle from Whistler all the way to San Diego, California with access to fast charging all along the route.”

The ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative is part of the federal government’s Economic Action Plan with $268 million mandate over five years to fund “long-term solutions to reducing and eliminating air pollutants.” To date, ecoEII has supported dozens of clean energy projects across the country in “five strategic priority areas,” including Electrification of Transportation and Unconventional Oil and Gas.

With both federal and provincial support, more electric outlets will pop up along B.C. roads – hopefully with cars stationed around them.

As Scott Hamilton, Liberal MLA for Delta North, says, “More charging stations around the province give British Columbians another incentive to take that step and purchase an electric vehicle of their own with the peace of mind that a charging station is never far.”

If it’s as successful as it sounds, the rest of Canada may not be too far behind.