Tuesday April 12, 2022 | COLWOOD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in the Greater Victoria area for a whirlwind budget-promoting tour yesterday. Trudeau’s first April 11 media stop was in the morning at Royal Roads University, where outdoors on the forested campus he was introduced by the Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada, Merran Smith.
At the podium amidst the sound of birds chipping and media cameras clicking, Smith first explained that the organization she heads up is a think tank that works on energy transition, based at Simon Fraser University (the office is downtown in the Burrard Street area).
She said that people who visit from “out east” remark how electric vehicles (EVs) seem to be “everywhere on the lower mainland and on Vancouver Island”. But in other big cities across Canada, not so much. “And the reason is really simple… in some provinces governments took action to make that happen,” said Smith.
She didn’t specify a time frame, but gave a recent statistic that “five percent of new car sales were electric, over 13 percent in BC”.
“And a few years ago, this federal government really stepped up to change that,” Smith told the crowd and media present. “First with purchase incentives for EVs then investments in charging infrastructure, and now the introduction of a policy nationwide zero emission supply mandate.”
She says that’s making it easier for Canadians to “get into the driver’s seats of an EV no matter where you live in this big country”.
Apparently now about 80 percent of Canadians say they’re open to getting an EV. “And in another recent poll, just over half of Canadians said they’ll never buy a gas vehicle again,” said Merran Smith.
She quoted one of the Clean Energy Canada recent reports that the cost of owning an electric vehicle is “not even close” to that of owning a combustion engine vehicle. Despite the “higher sticker price” at purchase, that afterward the fuel and maintenance savings are so significant that the EV version often comes out tens of thousands of dollars cheaper.
She also notes the significance of EV usage for the future for the Canadian auto sector including jobs in that sector. She noted that the investment like the recently-announced $4.9 billion Stellantis battery plant in Windsor, Ontario will create 2,500 jobs and produce enough batteries to power about half a million EVs every year. That plant results from a joint-venture deal between Stellantis and LG Energy Solution, together with the federal and provincial governments.
The transportation sector is “one-quarter of climate change causing pollution in this country”. EVs are a good climate solution, and a necessary one, Smith said. “We can’t hit our climate targets without them.”
“As an EV driver, benefits are many,” said Smith. She enthusiastically outlined the “smooth quiet ride, the money i’m saving, and I haven’t done an oil change in years… I don’t have to get stressed out by driving by and seeing the price of gas this week.”
She says those are all ‘real bonuses’ about this as part of being a climate solution.
“We are fortunate in Canada to have leadership that understands this, not just with the urgency of acting on climate now, but the link between climate action, affordability, and economic security,” said Smith.
Trudeau promises national network of EV charging stations (April 11, 2022)
Langford groundbreaking for new Tesla depot (March 3, 2022)
Rebates for switching to specialized electric vehicles (August 6, 2020)
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering news of the west shore since 2008, with a view to lifestyle and economy on south Vancouver Island.
Her publication was first called MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then morphed into the print weekly Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), then into the weekly print and PDF format West Shore Voice News (2014-2020) before emerging as a full online news portal as Island Social Trends in mid-2020.
Island Social Trends offers a journalism scholarship to graduating students in the west shore.