As the world begins to take notice of the alarming impact fossil fuels have on the environment, local governments have been improving their renewable energy plans. In British Columbia, rebates for hydrogen-powered or electric cars are a significant part of the province’s efforts to increase clean energy use. Such incentives have put BC in a leading role for electric vehicles incentives, and are making green energy more affordable to its residents.
For some years now, BC has been one of the pre-eminent provinces in Canada when it comes to electric vehicles. As an example, Vancouver was the first Canadian city to require that all new houses and buildings install wiring for future charging stations for electric cars. But this isn’t by far their only clean energy incentive. Read on to know everything you need to know about rebates for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and electric cars in British Columbia.
Incentives in British Columbia: The Clean Energy Vehicle Program
As electric car prices are still a big challenge for their popularity, the BC government has taken some steps to make clean energy vehicles more affordable. The Clean Energy Vehicle Program (CEV) is a significant example of the province’s commitment to green energy incentives. The project is an energy-rebate plan to reduce costs related to purchasing electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
The BC government announced in 2018 that it has committed $27 million for the program, which provides credit toward the purchase price of electric cars or plug-in hybrids of up to $5,000, and up to $6,000 for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Incentives will be available until March 31, 2020, or until available funding is depleted (whichever comes first) as posted on their official website.
The Clean Energy Vehicle Program frequently updates its list of eligible vehicles according to their fuel categories. Check below some vehicle examples according to the fuel type:
- Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV): Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul, Volkswagen e-Golf, Tesla Model 3 and Mitsubishi iMiev
- Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV): Hyundai Tucson
- Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV): Toyota Plug-In Prius, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi and Honda Clarity
BC SCRAP-IT Program
The SCRAP-IT program offers incentives for consumers to substitute their high-polluting vehicles for electric vehicles or other low-carbon forms of transportation. For 2018, the program had a thousand new electric vehicle incentives of $6,000 available, and more than 200 rebates of $3,000 for used electric vehicles.
Other hydrogen fuel cell or electric car incentives in BC
The Charging Solutions and Incentives Program by Plug In BC provided rebates toward the cost of electric cars charging equipment. The project also provided support for planning and setting such chargers on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to high demand, the rebates were fully given by July 2018. As of November 2018, there hasn’t been any news on the rebate offerings for 2019 or 2020, but it’s a good idea to check for updates on Plug In BC’s official website from time to time.
How hydrogen-powered cars work
In order to understand hydrogen fuel cell cars and how they work, it’s important to know their pros and cons.
Fuel cell devices can turn chemical potential energy into electricity. Such systems use a combination of hydrogen and oxygen to power motors. The magnitude of this chemical reaction is large enough to power a machine or fuel a car.
Although a valuable clean energy solution, hydrogen-powered systems are still quite expensive, so many users are reluctant to this solution. That is one of the reasons why rebates are quickly distributed through provincial programs. For most people, such incentives make eco-friendly decisions seem more affordable.
What do hydrogen cars emit?
Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen and oxygen to power their electric motors. This “modest” combination of elements results in highly clean emissions. Essentially, hydrogen powered-cars emit only water, electricity and heat, which is considerably less harmful to the environment than greenhouse gases.
How electric cars work
According to this The AA article, Canada was the ninth country in the world for total electric cars sales in 2017, behind countries such as China, the United States and Norway.
As energy rebates, like the ones found in BC, gain more popularity, people can expect to see more electric cars and charging stations across Canada.
Instead of using a combustion engine, electric cars carry an electric motor. Such vehicles use large batteries that need to be connected to charging stations or electrical outlets from time to time. Just like a laptop or a cell phone, electric cars can store energy inside their batteries once they’re charged and are able to work for many hours.
Do electric cars cause pollution?
It’s difficult to measure how much air pollution comes from electric cars, as their characteristics depend on their brands, battery sizes and other factors. However, according to a 2015 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, electric cars produce an average of 60 percent less carbon pollution than gasoline-only cars on average.
According to a Clean Technica article, even in the American states where electricity comes from traditional sources of energy such as coal, electric cars present eco-friendlier results.
How much electricity do electric cars need?
The range for electric cars has been increasing at a fast pace for the last years. Still, it can vary significantly according to the motor, the battery and the car brand. As displayed in Clean Technica’s electric car overview, the electric range for such vehicles can go from 12 miles (Mini Cooper SE Countryman ALL4) to 345 miles (Tesla Model 3).
When it comes to the charging cost of powering an electric car in British Columbia, BCHydro provides users with valuable information on estimated monthly electricity costs for three different cars with 80 percent of charging done at home.
- A 2016 Ford Focus EV driven over 40 kilometres per day would see an average BC Hydro bill increase of $29 a month, while a gas-powered car would result in a $117 monthly bill.
- A 2016 Nissan Leaf SV/SL driven 27 km per day would see an average BC Hydro bill increase of $14 a month, while a gas-powered car would result in a $62 monthly bill.
- A 2016 Tesla S (P85D) driven 55 km a day would see an average BC Hydro bill increase of $35 a month, while a gas-powered car would result in a $138 monthly bill.
A test made by two BC families in 2014 was an interesting example of the advantages and disadvantages involving electric cars. During a road trip from Vancouver to Calgary, a family on board of a Tesla Model S spent $100 less in fuel compared to a gas-powered car driven by another family.
However, the family in the Model S spent more time looking for charging stations and waiting for the car to be charged during several stops, whereas the family driving the gas-powered car only needed to make two quick stops expressly linked to fueling their car.
If you need to check more pros and cons of electric cars, the EnergyRates.ca blog has published an interesting post about these vehicles in Alberta, including some universal advantages and disadvantages about them.