Energy Minister Bill Bennett looks at the power system of a plug-in electric vehicle on display at the Vancouver International Auto Show.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett looks at the power system of a plug-in electric vehicle on display at the Vancouver International Auto Show.

Province offers electric vehicle subsidy

There are 13 charging stations in the Parskville Qualicum Beach area

Driving an energy efficient vehicle just got a little cheaper.

The B.C. government announced last week that those who purchase battery powered and plug-in hybrid cars can save up to $5,000 through a revived emission-free vehicle subsidy.

It’s welcome news for Parksville’s director of community planning Blaine Russell, an electric vehicle enthusiast and driver since 2012.

“If we want to see a paradigm shift someone’s got to vote with their dollar once in a while,” Russell told The NEWS.

“In the long run there are huge environmental benefits and right now we’re dependent on oil from places where people don’t necessarily like us — so there’s geopolitical and environmental reasons.”

The program takes effect April 1 and is funded to continue until March 2018. Those scrapping a 2000-or-older vehicle can receive an additional $3,250 toward a new battery electric or eligible plug-in hybrid under the B.C. Scrap-It program.

Even with the rebate, an electric car is more expensive to buy than a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle, but according to a government-issued news release the fuel savings average about $1,600 a year compared to gasoline.

B.C.’s last electric vehicle rebate program ran from 2011 to 2014, subsidizing the purchase of 950 electric vehicles and more than 1,000 charging stations, several of which are in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Russell confirmed Parksville has three electric vehicle charging stations that take approximately four hours to use depending on the vehicle, two are located in the parking lot of Parksville city hall and one is located at the Community Park.

Neighbouring Qualicum Beach has six public charging facilities located in: the town hall underground parkade, downtown Qualicum Beach (across from Qualicum Foods), the Civic Centre parking lot, the waterfront beach washrooms parking lot, the visitor information centre parking lot, the Qualicum Beach airport parking lot and in the underground parkade of Qualicum Foods.

There is also one charging station in each: Coombs, Errington, Nanoose Bay and Deep Bay.

For a comprehensive list of where each charging station is located visit www.plugshare.com.

However, while the region boasts more than a dozen electric vehicle public charging stations, none are high power stations, which take substantially less time to charge your vehicle.

Deep Bay resident Dianne Eddy, who drives a Nissan Leaf, said the closest fast charging station is in downtown Nanaimo and it takes about 20 minutes to use.

With the government’s revived incentive program, Eddy is hoping “perhaps we will also see a few more fast chargers around…This facilitates longer trips for those of us that can’t afford a Tesla.”

Eddy said installations in Victoria and Courtenay would “really add to the service” as the only fast charging stations she’s aware of are located in Nanaimo and Duncan.

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