BC’s Electric Vehicles - Now and the Future
Electric vehicles (EVs) represent an evolution in transportation, where fossil fuel cars are rapidly becoming obsolete. Despite supply issues throughout British Columbia (and the rest of Canada), consumers cannot get enough of this affordable, reliable, and sustainable way to get around. Two recent articles highlight both the current state of the EV market and where the industry is headed in BC. I have briefly summarized the potential implications for energy, infrastructure, and travel in Britsh Columbia both now and in the future.
Demand is far outstretching the supply of electric vehicles (EVs) in British Columbia. Customers continue to place orders despite wait times that stretch from weeks to over a year. Many potential EV owners cannot accommodate these wait times and have opted for an avaialbe fossil fuel alternative. Until it’s possible to walk into a dealership for an EV and drive away on the same day, the industry cannot fulfill its potential. The recent article “Sold Out: Report finds most B.C. dealerships don't have any electric vehicles” presents the scope of issue.
The BC government is tabling legislation to address the supply issues described above. Outlined in the article titled “Every New Car Sold in 2040 will be Zero-Emission” the NDP and Greens plan to tackle the issue. The new policy, called a ZEV (zero emissions vehicle) mandate, will require vehicle manufactures to have a portion of their sales dedicated to EVs. This starts with 5% in 2020, rising to 10% in 2025, 30% by 2030, and a full 100% transition by 2040. With this increasing mandate BC will join those jurisdictions with similar policies at the front of the line for EVs distribution both nationally and internationally.
The EV targets in BC are being implemented to not only address supply/demand issues but also to achieve our emissions targets. But where will all the energy, required to power millions of new EVs, come from? Even with the addition of the massive Site C dam, experts project that there be an energy shortfall in the coming years. It’s clear to me that the most economic and sustainable solution to this shortfall is a diverse energy system. A system that relies on both the centralized generation of the past (e.g. dams, nuclear) and localized generation of the future (e.g. solar, wind, tidal). With dams already producing most of BC’s energy, renewables can effectively complement these proven and established technologies. The renewable energy advantage lies in a reduced need for power lines, an efficient economic outlook, and an attractive emissions profile. My hope is that we meet the energy challenges of the coming years with a reliable solution that all Canadians can be proud of.