Businesses and non-profits that operate medium and heavy duty trucks, vans or buses are being enticed to go green with a doubling of a provincial rebate that could see up to $100,000 shaved of the sticker price of an electric or hydrogen vehicle.
The adoption rate for electric passenger vehicles in B.C. has been among the highest in Canada, but the commercial sector, which accounts for the bulk of transportation emissions, has been slow to make the switch from diesel and gasoline to battery electric or hydrogen.
There were only 570 medium and heavy duty vehicles sold last year in North America, said Bruce Ralston, B.C. minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.
“So there’s lots of room for growth and that’s what we’re trying to incent,” Ralston said.
The commercial transportation sector accounts for 60% of transportation emissions in B.C., and 22% of B.C.’s total emissions, so the B.C. government is upping the rebates it offers to try to accelerate adoption of zero emission vehicles by business.
As carbon taxes continue to rise, electric vehicles at some point will simply start to make more economic sense than diesel and gasoline powered trucks. The increased rebates are intended to give industry a bit of a nudge.
“These incentives just make it financially sweeter to go in that direction,” Ralston said.
The BC government is doubling the maximum rebates offered to businesses for zero-emission vehicles, with the maximum rebate going from up to $50,000 to $100,000.
Businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, which have been hit hardest by the pandemic, are being offered additional incentives.
The rebates will cover 33% of the cost of a zero emission vehicles for most qualifying businesses and non-profits, up to a maximum of $100,000.
But businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors that switch to electric or hydrogen will get 66% of their costs covered for the purchase of zero emission vehicles, like shuttle buses and delivery trucks or vans – again, up to a maximum of $100,000.
The bump in rebates comes from $31 million being added to the existing incentive programs through the Stronger BC pandemic recovery plan.
Ralston cites the electric shuttle bus that Harbour Air bought last year as an example of how much the rebates will save businesses that use it.
Manufactured by Green Power Motor Co., headquartered in Vancouver, the battery electric shuttle Harbour Air bought last year costs about $384,500.
Harbour Air received a $50,000 rebate for its purchase last year. If the company were buy another one this year, Harbour Air would be eligible for a $100,000 rebate for the same shuttle bus.
Another B.C. based company, Canadian Electric Vehicles Ltd. makes a range of electric industrial vehicles and equipment haul vehicles, including a low-speed utility truck.
Commercial vehicles eligible for the rebate include:
- medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles
- hydrogen-powered passenger buses
- airport and port service vehicles
- heavy-duty transport trucks
- specialty-use motorcycles
- cargo e-bikes
- low-speed utility trucks