EDITORIAL: Energized by EVs

B.C. motorists have been so charged up about electric vehicles that the province announced this week more money for EV rebates was being “released,” along with “changes” to “meet ongoing demand.”

Which sounded pretty good.

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If you thought that meant more money was being added to the program so more people could take advantage of rebates, however, you’d be wrong. In fact, that was the province’s roundabout way of saying the provincial rebates were being reduced, as was the threshold cost at which vehicles won’t qualify, in order to stretch the grants out among more potential buyers. (A federal incentive for $5,000 remains unchanged.)

It’s what’s known as a good news, bad news story. The bad news is the well of provincial largesse for doing the right thing is quickly running dry.

The good news is the incentive program has been a victim of its own success.

More people are buying electric vehicles than ever before – particularly in B.C. That’s good news for the planet and our collective dependence on fossil fuels.

But electric vehicles are still considerably more expensive than conventional cars.

And while some EV charging stations are free, that’s likely to start changing, because as anyone who has paid a Hydro bill is aware – electricity still costs money.

Financial sticks and carrots remain powerful motivators for most people. That’s why government rebates have got more motorists juiced about EVs.

Of course, one of the prime incentives to go electric has had little to do with government. It’s the sticker shock at the gas pump.

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