More zero-emission vehicles expected to hit Kamloops streets

By Dylana Milobar
December 7, 2018 - 4:24pm Updated: December 7, 2018 - 5:35pm

KAMLOOPS — This week, the provincial government released its Clean BC plan, aimed at reducing carbon pollution. 

It's a plan that will affect every British Columbian, and it's aimed at encouraging everyone to change how folks live, work, and commute. 

One area in which the government wants residents to take a greener path is moving to electric vehicles, aiming for 30 per cent of vehicle sales in BC to be zero-emission cars by 2030, and have that sales total be 100 per cent by 2040.

Some drivers, like Heidi Coleman, have already gotten on board with the zero-emission plan outlined in the Clean BC report. 

"I just feel I'm doing my part," she says. "I'm getting off gas, I don't have to change my oil, the only thing I have to do is put on my winter tires."

Coleman says she believes a boost in electric vehicles will happen over the next few years.

"When I was in Montreal recently, a lot of the delivery companies... they're using them," Coleman says."So everyone sees the advantage of electric cars." 

Kamloops City Councillor Arjun Singh made the switch two years ago, and says despite a higher price tag than the average gas-powered car, the fuel savings afterwards are worth the up front cost.

"I think I pay maybe $10 to $15 a month for electricity," he explains, "and I drive it as much as I drove my truck before, which cost me probably 10 times as much money."

By the mid 2020s the provincial government expects buying a zero-emission vehicle will be similar in cost to gas-powered cars.

Though the Interior has a smaller inventory compared to larger centres in the Lower Mainland, Anthony Muzzillo of Smith Chevrolet says vehicles like the Bolt or Volt don't stay on the lots for long in Kamloops.

"The provincial government gives $5,000 towards the cost of an electric car," he explains. "So I think that really helps the surge, and helps more interest as well."

Car dealers know first-hand, reducing environmental impact, and government-funded incentives aren't the only factor driving people towards the cars. 

"I think with the price of gas, as it was up there pretty good, it creates a little bit more interest in the cheaper way to go," Muzzillo says.

On top of the fuel savings, he says the sound difference between gas and electric vehicles is significant, as the zero-emission options also feature nearly zero noise.

In Kamloops, gas stations are still more common than electric vehicle charging stations, however, Singh says the city does have a few places for the eco-friendly cars to juice up. 

"In town we have one fast charger," Singh explains, "so the univerity has them, the Holiday Inn on the North Shore has them, a bunch of hotels have them, Tourism Kamloops has one."

Acknowledging concerns around whether the vehicles would be useful in the Interior region for driving around different towns, Singh says he hasn't had any issues.

"We went to Revelstoke in the spring with my car, and stopped in Salmon Arm and charged, and stopped in Revelstoke and charged, and it was no problem at all," he explains. "These new cars that are coming out now have a lot more range, and the costs are coming down as well."

The Clean BC initiative will aim to have the province's carbon pollution cut down by 6 million tonnes by the year 2030. 

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