Why is the uptake of electric cars in rural British Columbia lagging behind the big cities |  CBC News

Why is the uptake of electric cars in rural British Columbia lagging behind the big cities | CBC News

Braeden Fairbairn has been promoting electric cars at Kootenays since he bought his purple Tesla Model 3 in 2019.

He is the co-founder of Kootenay Electric Vehicles, a group that advocates for electric vehicles, or electric vehicles, and encourages other drivers in the Kootenay area of ​​British Columbia to use electricity.

“I am definitely proud [my Tesla]”I love being able to move quickly and do it in the most sustainable way possible,” Fairburn said.

On Saturday, Kootenay Electric Vehicles hosted a grand opening celebration of six Tesla-branded superchargers in North Cranbrook, which make up the Kootenays largest fast charging station.

But despite Fairbairn’s efforts to promote zero-emissions vehicles—vehicles that don’t produce tailpipe emissions—and despite gas prices in the province rising to more than $2 a liter, electric vehicle consumption in rural British Columbia communities lags far behind. On Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

south dawn9:30The federal government is working to make electric cars affordable and make charging easier for people in Kootenays

CBC’s Brendan Coulter talks to Chris Walker about how the Kootenays are falling behind the big cities when it comes to electric cars. 9:30

According to the latest statistics from the county government, about one out of every 45 people owns a zero-emissions vehicle in the lower mainland region and southwestern regions of the county.

In Kootenays, 1 in 232 people own a zero-emissions vehicle. In northern British Columbia, that number drops to 1 in 414 people.

The number of public charging stations closely corresponds to the number of zero-emission vehicles in different regions.

Vancouver has 483 public charging outlets, according to ChargeHub, a website that tracks charging stations in North America. The Kimberley and Trail communities in the Kootenays each have three.

However, more charging stations are being installed throughout rural British Columbia

On May 5, the British Columbia Community Energy Association announced that it had received a $1 million investment from Natural Resources Canada to install up to 90 chargers across Kootenays.

Unfair distribution of electric vehicles

The availability of electric vehicles themselves is significantly affecting their adoption in rural areas, according to representatives of Plugin BC, which advocates for electric vehicle adoption, and BC’s Community Energy Association, which works with municipalities on low-carbon projects.

While supply is low and demand is high everywhere, electric vehicle manufacturers are prioritizing sending vehicles to larger markets, says Megan Lohmann, director of strategic initiative with the Community Energy Association.

“It’s a concern to me when we have a regional mandate for a zero-emissions vehicle…but that has nothing to do with fair distribution,” she said.

Le Mans also says that areas with strong legislation supporting electric vehicles will also prioritize auto manufacturers.

Dalton Bullock, general manager of Cranbrook Hyundai, says it’s tough to get stock electrics for his dealership. (Brendan Coulter/CBC)

Dalton Bullock, general manager of Cranbrook Hyundai, told CBC that people come to his dealership every day to ask about electric cars, but he only has two on site: a service lender and a demo unit.

“It’s definitely hard to get. [electric cars] available,” he said.

Strong legislation for electric vehicles in major cities

Cities on the lower mainland have taken a number of measures to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. The city of Vancouver, for example, requires electric vehicle charging infrastructure in 45 percent of the parking kiosks in most types of new non-residential buildings.

New fuel stations in Surrey are required to provide an alternative fuel source, such as hydrogen fuel or a level three electric vehicle charging station.

However, there are smaller communities across the county that have also passed meaningful bylaws or started programs to promote electric vehicles.

The local governments of Kootenays and the Community Energy Association worked together on the $1.5 million Accelerate Kootenays project, which saw the installation of 53 charging stations across the region. The three Kootenays regional districts won the 2020 Federation of Municipalities Vision Award for the programme.

“Being able to see it pay off and have a tremendous impact on communities is something I am proud of,” Lohmann said.

More electric vehicle capabilities will increase rural adoption

The availability of electric vehicles with off-road capabilities will also affect adoption in rural areas, according to both Fairbairn and Lohmann.

Last year, GMC’s Hummer EV launched, while Ford’s Electric Truck launched the F-150 this spring. The Silverado 2024 is scheduled to be introduced by Chevrolet in 2023.

As more and more diverse models of electric vehicles are built, Fairburn believes that widespread adoption of electric vehicles in rural British Columbia, such as the Kootenays, is inevitable.

“They’re going crazy here,” he said.

2022-05-11 13:00:00

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