Electric vehicle advocate hopeful that federal focus will have positive impact in province

The federal government has committed the country to adopt a focus on zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) as part of its climate plan.

As part of the plan, the government is introducing a mandate that 20 per cent of all new light-duty vehicle sales in Canada will be ZEVs by 2026, with the mandate then dictating that a least 60 per cent of all new vehicles sold in 2030 will be ZEVs, before rising to 100 per cent in 2035. Under the plan, Canadians won’t be able to buy a new internal combustion engine car or truck by the middle of the next decade.

Matt Pointer, the founder of the Saskatchewan Electric Vehicle Association, said it is great news to hear the commitment, but Saskatchewan has a long way to go.

“We don’t have a ton of cars here currently. We are just over 1,200 in the whole province, which is a province of 1.1 million vehicles; it is clearly a drop in the bucket.”

“It’s traditionally been a lot harder to find those kinds of cars from our dealerships here in Saskatchewan. Now that is changing slowly, and they are becoming more readily available but having a federal mandate to make those cars more accessible is definitely a good thing.”

He said that though the vehicles might have a higher up-front cost for people, they present savings long-term.

“The good news is they are becoming more affordable all the time, and there are some federal rebates that are on the way to make these vehicles more affordable,” he said. “You are probably looking on average between that $40,000 to $45,000 price point currently.”

“The long-term cost of ownership is significantly cheaper than a regular gas vehicle,” he stated. “Most people who drive an electric vehicle in the province are paying somewhere between 30 to 40 dollars a month for additional electricity to charge their car. Over the long-term, those savings on fuel and the savings with maintenance, as these cars are very cheap to operate, really start to pay down the cars considerably faster than a gas car would and then they actually end up being a cheaper option when you start to factor in the cost of ownership.”

Pointer noted that many people who buy an electric vehicle use their fuel savings to pay for the majority of their monthly care payments.

The federal government also announced that they want to drive emission reductions in medium-and heavy-duty vehicles, which have been slower to adopt zero-emission technology.

“Those types of manufacturers of the big trucks and things like that are all coming down the pipe,” Pointer noted. “There are a bunch of electric vehicle manufacturers that specialize in heavy-duty trucks.”

Pointer added that he believes soon, whether you live in a city or a rural community, electric vehicles will meet the needs of everyone.

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