image to announce funding support for Drive Electric NL including Minister Bernard Davis and Joanne Thompson
Photo: Environment and Climate Change Newfoundland

Over $264,000 in funding is going towards Drive Electric NL programming as the number of EVs in the province soars

Electric vehicle sightings are becoming more frequent in Canada’s most eastern province. A new joint government and industry program is encouraging the surging interest in EV adoption.

The non-profit organization Drive Electric NL is using $264,562 in investments from the federal and provincial governments to provide EV education programs aimed at municipalities, first responders, the tourism industry and schools.

“We are excited to be able to further our efforts with the funding,” said Jon Seary, Drive Electric NL’s co-founder, in a press release.

The funding breakdown looks like this: $118,800 in Federal funding will be coming via the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), while the provincial funding is coming through the Departments of Industry, Energy and Technology ($45,762) and Environment and Climate Change ($100,000).

Between 2021 and 2022 Newfoundland and Labrador saw a 125.6 per cent rise in new EV registrations, jumping from 317 battery-electric vehicles to 715, respectively, according to the province’s Motor Registration Division

The province reports that, as of Q1 2023, there are 787 battery electric vehicles in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Programming goals

Drive Electric NL has been offering mobile learning opportunities since 2018. This entails going to communities all over Newfoundland and Labrador to share information about EVs.

In April 2022 the non-profit opened its flagship Drive Electric Resource Centre in St. John’s. At the Resource Centre, Drive Electric NL offers information sessions to introduce drivers to EVs. They also offer opportunities for drivers to take test drives.

The goal of the new programming is to build on Drive Electric NL’s success with consumers by targeting industry or government fleets.

“We are working with rural municipalities to implement EVs into their fleets and encouraging EV charging with our tourism operators to ensure our province provides the best visitor experience for EV drivers,” said Seary.

The programming will address topics such as:

  • The benefits and challenges of EV adoption;
  • How to implement green vehicle programs in communities; and
  • EV safety and training in the event of a fire.

As well, Drive electric NL will be offering test drives and EV demos to interested potential buyers before purchase.

“From the excitement we see in students and teachers about how EVs reduce climate impact to educating first responders on what to do when an EV is involved in a traffic accident, our sessions are well attended and engaged,” said Seary.

Information on Drive Electric NL may be found here.