B.C. residents will get up to $5,000 off the sticker price of a qualifying clean energy vehicle starting Dec. 1.

Environment Minister Terry Lake said Saturday that the rebate includes qualifying new vehicles that are battery electric, fuel-cell electric, plug-in hybrid electric and those that operate on compressed natural gas.

Andrea Mercer, a spokeswoman for the ministry, said there are currently up to 30 such vehicles for fleets in B.C., and 10 to 20 for residential use.

As part of the $17-million program, the province is also providing funding for new charging stations and upgrades to hydrogen fuelling stations at existing facilities.

Homeowners who want to install a charging station will get a $500 mail-in rebate for eligible units, also beginning Dec. 1.

Mercer said home charging stations cost up to $1,500 and that the Environment Ministry will be publishing a list of qualified vendors and eligible units.

"They can be installed in your garage or they can be put outside, depending on what your setup is."

Low hydro costs

Similar rebate programs on vehicles and charging stations are available in Quebec and Ontario, she said, adding both provinces offer only mail-in rebates for new clean energy vehicles.

Blair Qualey, president of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C., said the sector has been working with auto manufacturers to attract new clean energy vehicles to the province's market.

"Vehicles qualifying for the rebate are anticipated to cost as little as $300 per year in hydro costs compared to upwards of $1,500 per year to fuel a gas-powered car," he said.

On Saturday, the Scrap-It program was also expanded so more British Columbians can get rid of qualifying 1995 or older gas guzzlers in exchange for incentives such as bus passes, car-sharing memberships or $300.