New Brunswick

Gallant government charged up about boosting number of electric vehicles

The New Brunswick government wants to see 20,000 electric vehicles in use by 2030 as part of its climate change action plan and says it intends to lead by example with its own fleet.

Climate action plan lacks details, costs

The government's climate change action plan calls for 20,000 electric vehicles province-wide by 2030. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson )

The New Brunswick government says it will expand its use of electric vehicles and encourage others to do the same, as part of its climate change action plan announced on Wednesday.

It aims to see 2,500 electric vehicles on the road by 2020, and 20,000 by 2030, but exactly how it will reach those targets for passenger, fleet, and commercial vehicles, or how much it will cost remains unclear.

It still needs to implement an electric vehicle strategy "that specifies the required incentives, regulations, policies, programs and charging infrastructure," the plan, entitled Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy, states.

Transportation currently contributes about 30 per cent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the province, according to document.

Electric vehicles and hybrids produce lower GHG emissions and air pollution than traditional internal combustion engines.

'Leading by example'

"As a significant consumer of energy, the provincial government is committed to leading by example by adopting ambitious measures to reduce emissions from its facilities, fleets and other assets, as well as by using procurement to drive market demand for low-carbon goods and services," the document states.

The government has pledged to be "carbon-neutral" in its operations, facilities and vehicles by 2030.

The plan does not offer any details about how many charging stations will be developed or where there will be located. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
It currently owns and operates about 1,000 buildings and 4,500 vehicles, including cars, light trucks, heavy trucks and school buses. Together, they produce about 400,000 tonnes of GHG emissions annually, with energy costs of $85 million each year.

Although the government implemented a "green vehicle policy" in 2006, which includes a commitment to "stringent" emission standards when replacing certain vehicles and supports the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, "there is a need for a more comprehensive provincial green transportation policy that includes specific commitments and targets to reduce vehicle emissions, support alternative transportation and reduce that demand for travel."

The government's green transportation policy will include measures to:

  • Develop a government electric vehicle program relating to fleet vehicles and recharging infrastructure.
  • Implement new fleet procurement and management systems, including alternative fuel vehicles that improve fuel efficiency and lower GHG emissions.

It will also promote a culture of minimized travel among public servants through enhanced teleconference capabilities and will encourage alternative methods of commuting to work, according to the 25-page plan.

In addition, the government plans to encourage municipal and other public institutions to make similar commitments, and offer initiatives in vehicle choices.