Truck in BC mountains

Announcement also provides new funding for large-scale zero-emission fleet deployments and added incentives for tourism and hospitality industry to offset COVID-19 setbacks

British Columbia’s Specialty-Use Vehicle Incentive (SUVI) is getting a $31-million cash injection to help local businesses make the switch to electric. The program, part of CleanBC, which is responsible for accelerating the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the province, falls under B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

Organizations, including local and regional governments, the public sector and non-profits, will now be able to recoup 33 per cent of the cost for each eligible vehicle they buy, up to $100,000. This doubles the previous maximum benefit of $50,000. 

For the province’s tourism and hospitality industry, which has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the rebate climbs to 66 per cent, or $66,000 for a $100,000 vehicle. 

“Investing in 21st-century infrastructure through rebates for electric vehicles will mean more tourism businesses can adopt cleaner, greener transportation options for when it is safe to welcome visitors back to super, natural British Columbia,” says Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.

Battery-electric or hydrogen-fueled passenger buses, shuttle buses, food delivery trucks and heavy-duty transport trucks, as well as specialty-use vehicles like motorcycles, cargo e-bikes and low-speed utility trucks, all qualify for the reimbursement. 

“Through CleanBC, we’re making cleaner options more affordable to help businesses recover and save on costs while doing their part to reduce air pollution,” adds Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

Support for big EV projects

The province also announced it would release $11 million through its Commercial Vehicle Pilot Program. This money is earmarked for large deployments of medium- and heavy-duty or large EVs, such as in domestic air, marine or rail transportation. Applicants will have to compete for the rebate though, which amounts to one-third of total costs and includes support for charging infrastructure. 

“Our government is making clean, specialized vehicles more affordable for businesses to encourage investments that support jobs, fight climate change and help save on fuel and maintenance costs through CleanBC,” says George Heyman, minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

In 2018, B.C.’s commercial transport sector accounted for more than half of all transportation emissions in the province and 22 per cent of its total emissions. The increased ZEV incentives are part of the government’s $10-billion COVID-19 economic recovery plan, StrongerBC. 

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