How government policies accelerate EV access

Both the federal and provincial governments are making it more appealing for Canadians to drive electric vehicles (EVs) with the introduction of new policies. Aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, policy makers have put in place financial incentives like rebates on new and used EVs. As EVs are a great option as they have not only been shown to significantly reduce emissions from the transportation sector but also the Oil & Gas sector as well.  The government gets closer to meeting its Climate mitigation targets while the consumer gets a vehicle that’s that’s higher performing, let’s you skip the gas pumps and even in many cases saves you money in the long run.

For many people, the initial purchase price of an EV is still a barrier, rebates are a proven way of getting more people to drive EVs by lowering the price. It’s a great first step in the right direction, and our program has already noted an increase in EV interest due to the provincial rebates, but rebates are not the only policy options that can grow the number of EVs on Canada’s roads.  We’ve outlined some other proven ways that increase the number of consumers purchasing EVs as their next car.

Rebates help more people purchase electric

ANY new vehicle can be expensive! Nova Scotians, on average, paid $38,354 for new vehicles in 2019. With the February 2021 announcement of Electrify by Nova Scotian Premier Iain Rankin, Nova Scotians can now apply for rebates on new and used EVs, plug-in hybrids and e-bikes. The goal being to bring the prices of new and used EVs down closer in line with other popular models of vehicles and allow for more people to be able to consider buying an EV.

Provincial rebate amounts for vehicles are:

  • $3,000 for new fully electric vehicles under $55,000
  • $2,000 for used electric vehicles and new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles under $55,000
  • $1,000 for used plug-in hybrid electric vehicles under $55,000
  • $500 rebate available for e-bikes with a retail value of $1,200 or more
  • $5,000 federal rebate available for new electric vehicles under $55,000

Clean Foundation administers Electrify through point-of-sale rebates at auto dealers. Electrify compliments Nova Scotia’s Next Ride electric vehicle engagement and test drive campaign, which Clean has been delivering since 2019.

Getting more EVs on the road through a ZEV mandate

Government-introduced Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandates have been shown to encourage EV manufacturers to increase their production and supply, while also setting EV sales benchmarks for . The intent is to ensure there’s a wider variety of EVs available across the country, and that there is an even spread of availability for all provinces. At time of posting, only British Columbia and Quebec have introduced ZEV mandates in Canada, leading to a surge in EV adoption within those provinces. While there are no plans to adopt a version of the ZEV here in Nova Scotia, it’s useful to understand the motivations of a policy such as this.

Usually, the mandate is designed to progressively increase sales targets to guide dealerships to sell the required EVs to meet the of:

  • 10 per cent of total new vehicle sales should be zero-emission by 2025
  • 30 per cent should be zero-emission by 2030
  • 100 per cent should be zero-emission by 2040

Growing EV charging station capacity

Nova Scotia has seen a significant roll out of high-powered fast chargers (called Level 3s) at gas stations since 2018. We typically see these fast-charging stations installed along major highways/well used roads at major businesses or hubs. Gas station owners are choosing to install these charging stations as they recognize that their business is already well positioned and set up to accommodate the coming transition to EVs – who would have thought! Seven of Nova Scotia’s fast chargers are at gas stations (and each site could have as many as 8 charging stations)! Our Next Ride team makes use of many of the level 3 fast chargers when they travel across Nova Scotia, making it much easier for us to bring EVs to communities.

Level 2 chargers are much more common.  For every hour an EV is plugged in, it could drive 35-45kms. They’re a lot like a cell phone charger – plug in overnight and you’re all set. Since they’re much more affordable and convenient to install, most EV owners will have one in their house or their place of work. With over 167 level 2 public charging stations across the province driving electric has never been so accessible to Nova Scotians.

Study after study confirms that when people understand that there are chargers out there for them to use, EVs become a more attractive option when deciding on their next vehicle – and the future is bright with many more charging sites coming to the province!

Education brings people closer to EV ownership

Education is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to increasing EV adoption rates. The Nova Scotian government recognizes this by funding the Next Ride program. Very few Nova Scotians would get the chance to test drive an EV before placing an order for one without Next Ride offering drives in a range of affordable electric vehicles all across the province. Any new vehicle purchase should not be taken likely – it’s the second largest expense for most households – and to buy one without any education beforehand would be asking people to make a leap of faith on a whole different technology that is new and unfamiliar to most.

The Next Ride team are touring Nova Scotia and want you to experience the excitement of electric vehicles. Book yourself in for a test drive and see how an EV could fit your lifestyle.

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