Climate-change committee considers electric vehicle incentives

A legislative committee studying climate change may recommend electric vehicle incentives to the Gallant government, according to committee chair Andrew Harvey.

Legislative committee hears from Quebec government about success of electric vehicle incentives

If you buy an electric vehicle in Quebec, the provincial government chips in $8,000. Ontario and British Columbia also offer monetary incentives. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson )

It's a glimmer of hope for anybody in New Brunswick who has their eye set on an electric vehicle.

A legislative committee studying climate change may recommend electric vehicle incentives to the Gallant government, according to Liberal MLA and committee chair Andrew Harvey.

The all-party committee, tasked with finding ways to reduce and mitigate the impacts of climate change, heard from a Quebec transportation department official Thursday, who spoke about the province's electric vehicle program.

Quebec's program includes an $8,000 electric vehicle incentive and free access to ferries and bridges. Electric vehicles are also allowed in carpool lanes.

It could be part of our final recommendations- Liberal MLA Andrew Harvey, committee chair

"We'll take best practices from other provinces … and it could be part of our final recommendations," said Harvey.

Quebec has more than 10,000 electric vehicles on the roads and aims to reach at least 100,000 electric vehicles by 2020, according to the Quebec Department of Transportation. The Quebec government also wants to set a minimum quota for the number of electric or low-emission cars sold.

It's not clear how many electric vehicles are in New Brunswick, although it's safe to say far fewer than Quebec. The CAA website lists 41 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the province. 

New Brunswick has one the highest amounts of emissions per captia in Canada, whereas Quebec has one of the lowest.

"Things are going very well," said André Bernier, manager of sustainable development for the Quebec Department of Transportation, who spoke before the committee.

Bernier told the committee about electric school buses that were introduced in the province a few months ago. Harvey asked if there were any talks of electric snowmobiles in Quebec, but Bernier said that wasn't the case.

The committee has heard from experts throughout the past two months, and will next hear from the public. The first session is in Perth-Andover on Aug. 29.