B.C. charging ahead with EV fleet supports

B.C. municipalities and businesses building their light-duty fleets of electric vehicles (EVs) have access to new rebates and supports for charging infrastructure through CleanBC’s Go Electric programs.

“We want to encourage more B.C. businesses, Indigenous Nations, municipalities and regional districts to make the switch to electric vehicles in their fleets,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “The new rebates and other supports make it easier for fleet owners to install chargers on site and further our CleanBC goals, as well as the climate change targets of municipalities and businesses, by ensuring workers are behind the wheel of clean-energy vehicles.”

The Go Electric Fleets program offers rebates for the purchase and installation of level 2 and direct-current fast-charging stations for fleets of one or more EVs. For a limited time, eligible businesses purchasing and installing level 2 charging stations can access a higher rebate of up to $4,000 per station, representing an increase from 50% to 75% of basic rates. Those purchasing EVs for a fleet are eligible for the same $3,000 point-of-purchase vehicle rebates as the general public in B.C.

“We are committed to supporting Indigenous Nations, local governments and small businesses as they look for better ways to deliver products and services to people across the province,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Reducing the cost of transitioning fleets to electric can help cut operating costs as well as emissions, which fights climate change. It’s one more way we are supporting a continent-leading switch to cleaner travel under CleanBC.”

Many municipalities and regional districts are actively growing their fleets of EVs. In 2019, when the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) purchased its first EV, just under 30% of its greenhouse gas emissions came from fleet vehicles. To move closer to the regional district’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, it added two more EVs in 2020. Staff use the EVs in all seasons for shorter trips locally and for longer travel between the two offices located on either side of a major mountain pass. With an EV infrastructure study completed and a low-carbon fleet plan in place, the RDKB now has a clear roadmap to full electrification of their passenger and light-duty fleet vehicles and the electrical infrastructure and EV supply equipment to support it.

Geazone Eco-Courier is a Victoria-based business focused on building its EV Fleet. The zero-emission courier company provides sustainable delivery services, third-party logistics and freight services to businesses on Vancouver Island and in Greater Vancouver, with a fleet made up of human-powered tricycles, cars and fully electric five-tonne trucks. By offering customers a zero-emission courier, Geazone Eco-Courier helps other businesses reduce their carbon emissions.

Eligible businesses and municipalities can access other fleet program offers, including up to 40 hours of free support services from a zero-emission vehicle fleet advisor under the Fleets program. The support services include consultations, educational sessions and technical assessments for charging infrastructure upgrades and equipment.

The Fleets program offers increased rebates to Indigenous Nations, organizations and businesses in B.C. for EV fleet charging infrastructure. Eligible Indigenous-owned businesses have access to higher rebates for the purchase and installation of level 2 and direct-current fast-charging stations.

Indigenous Nations and Indigenous-owned businesses also have access to other increased supports available through CleanBC Go Electric programming, including higher rebates for public EV charging stations through the Public Charger program announced in September 2020.

The increased investment in EVs and charging infrastructure aligns with the Province’s StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan – that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.

Diane Langman, Chair, board of directors, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, said: “Our regional district covers an area of about 8,000 square kilometres of mountainous highways with often adverse driving conditions. That the RDKB is well on the way to converting our light-duty fleet to electric is proof that rural and urban local governments can do this with supports such as the CleanBC program. Some of our directors and staff are starting to make plans to replace their own personal vehicles with EVs based on seeing us lead by example. This is only the beginning, and I’m excited to see us all act to reduce our carbon footprints.”

Andrew Mitchell, President and CEO, Geazone Eco-Courier, said: “This is a great addition by the Province to further its commitment to clean energy in the transportation sector. We look forward to using these rebates for our small business as we continue to grow in Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. As a result, we can look at expanding our existing fleet of 100% electric vehicles.”

Quick Facts

* British Columbia is leading the country in transitioning to EVs with more than 46,000 light-duty EVs on the road.

* Public EV infrastructure has more than doubled since 2017. There are more than 2,000 public charging stations in B.C.

* The CleanBC Go Electric Fleets and Public Charger programs are administered by the Fraser Basin Council.