Yukon celebrates inaugural EV Discovery Day with assistance of federal grant
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Mar 9, 2020
Luke Sarabia

The event, which will feature discussions on the advantages of EV ownership, is partially funded by a federal initiative designed to increase EV education nationwide

The event, which featured discussions on the advantages of EV ownership, was partially funded by a federal initiative designed to increase EV education nationwide

Thanks in part to a $48,500 grant from the federal government, the Yukon territory yesterday celebrated its first-ever EV Discovery Day. The federal grant money, provided to raise awareness about zero-emission vehicles and encourage adoption, was also bolstered by contributions by the Government of Yukon and the Yukon Transportation museum, bringing the total cost of the project to $97,000.

The EV Discovery Day event was held March 8 at the Yukon Transportation Museum in Whitehorse. It included panel presentations on how electric vehicles perform in the winter, how battery-powered cars are operated and several other topics. Local EV owners were on hand to discuss their experiences, and the Yukon government’s own electric vehicle, a 2016 Chevrolet Spark known as Sparky, was present.

The number of electric vehicles in Yukon is as of yet limited; the CBC reported last year that only 12 battery-electric vehicles and 105 hybrids were registered in the territory, which has an approximate population of 41,000.

Despite that fact, some public charging infrastructure is already in place, although the majority of Canada’s major charging networks remain situated primarily along the Trans-Canada Highway.

As such, the territory is poised to increase EV adoption levels. As Canada’s north will be among the areas first affected by the climate crisis, public education on the emission-reducing impact of electric vehicles could have significant influence on EV ownership in the province.

“There is a growing demand for electric vehicles in Yukon, and with the Government of Canada’s ongoing support, our territory has gone from three public electric vehicle chargers to 13, with more coming,” said Ranj Pillai, Energy, Mines and Resources Minister for the Government of Yukon

“This funding will help encourage the adoption and use of electric vehicles in our northern climate and contribute to the growth of Yukon’s green economy.”

Federal investments

The federal funding comes from Natural Resources Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative, through which institutions, governments, and companies can receive up to $50,000 for the funding of projects that “aim to increase awareness of ZEVs through education and outreach; advance knowledge and support capacity-building; increase awareness of public charging and refueling infrastructure activities; and ultimately support a greater adoption of ZEVs by Canadians”.

The announcement of the funding was made by Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon, on behalf of Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.

Elsewhere, Natural Resources Canada is investing over $312 million into building charging infrastructure across the country through its Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program and its Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative. It has also invested another $300 million into the federal EV incentive program, which provides Canadians up to $5,000 for the purchase of an electric vehicle.

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