Quebec unveils plan to expand electric-car network

With promises of a free pass on toll bridges and roads, unfettered access to reserved car lanes and more electric-car charging stations, Quebec is poised to roll out a new $420M electric-vehicle plan.

Province predicts 100,000 electric cars will be on Quebec roads in next 5 years

More than 100 electric car-charging stations will be set up around Montreal over the next few months. (Canadian Press)

Quebec is making a big push to go electric.

The provincial government will make an official announcement on Friday, detailing how it plans to spend $420 million over the next five years on its new vehicle-electrification plan.

The plan comes two years after the former Parti Québécois government made a similar, but more generous, commitment. The PQ had promised $516 million to bolster the electric-vehicle movement over three years.

The Liberal government's program is called "Propulser le Québec par l'électricité" — or, Driving Quebec with Electricity — and rests on promoting electric transportation and the industry supporting it.

Documents obtained by Radio-Canada show that the government expects more than 100,000 electric and hybrid gas-electric cars to hit the roads in the next five years.

In order to encourage motorists to choose electric over gas-powered cars, the government plans to install 785 public-access charging stations and 60 or so quick-charging stations. It will also ask businesses to install charging units for employees.

Electric car? No tolls for you

​Government documents show that the Couillard government will also maintain the rebate system introduced by the Liberals during Jean Charest's tenure. Under that program, people buying or leasing electric or hybrid vehicles qualify for rebates of up to $8,000.

The government said the plan will see greenhouse gases decrease by 150,000 tonnes per year, beginning in 2020. It also said the plan would create 5,000 jobs and more than $500 million in private investment. 

To set an example, the government promises to introduce 1,000 electric cars to its own car pool by 2020.

The government said it also wants to give electric-car drivers permission to drive in reserved car lanes and permit them to use toll bridges and roads for free, starting Jan. 1, 2016.