Stories & Features

6 ways B.C. is so great for electric vehicles

Image of charging lead plugged into a BMW i3
B.C.'s abundance of reliable, affordable electricity is just one reason the province is ideally suited to the operation of electric vehicles.

Plug-in vehicles ideally suited to British Columbia

Note: This story was updated March 29, 2016.

The Vancouver International Auto Show made its annual stop in the Lower Mainland last week. The Vancouver Convention Centre was filled with all kinds of automobiles, and showcased a variety of vehicles running on alternative energy sources.

The interest in B.C. around alternative energy vehicles, including hydrogen fuel cells, hybrids, and plug-in electrics, has been increasing, and with good reason. The truth is that B.C. is a great place to drive EVs.

1. Most of us have a short distance to commute

Range anxiety is quickly becoming a thing of the past as automakers significantly increase, with each model year, the distance their EVs can go without needing to plug in again. But in B.C, even older EVs are up to the task of the daily commute. According to Statistics Canada, nearly 90% of British Columbians live in a metropolitan area, where the distance from home to work is usually less than 50 km, easily within the range of EVs currently available in the province.

2. EV drivers can drive in HOV lanes even when riding solo

Announced by Premier Christy Clark at the recent Globe Conference on Sustainability and Innovation, drivers of eligible alternative energy vehicles can use HOV lanes without having to comply with occupancy requirements.

Image of BMW i3
The BMW i3's comfort, handling and extended range make it an attractive player in the plug-in vehicle market.

3. EV drivers get to park in the best spaces

Whether it's dedicated parking spaces at Granville Island or Metrotown, drivers of EVs get access to premium parking spaces, closer to the door and often with charging available.

4. It's free to charge EVs at many public locations

EV charging is free at MEC stores across Canada. Other businesses, including hotels and restaurants, are also providing charging stations for customers.

And charging is also free at many facilities operated by municipalities. It's all to encourage people to choose an alternative to fossil fuel vehicles.

5. You can get a rebate on the purchase of an EV

Through the CEVforBC program, you can get up to $5,000 off the price of an alternative energy vehicle. When combined with an incentive from Scrap-It, the savings can be up to $8,250.

6. Rates for electricity are among the lowest in North America

BC Hydro's electricity rates are low compared to other cities in North America, and most of the energy generated by BC Hydro's system is clean and renewable.