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Province defends size of investment in zero-emission vehicle research

Transportation sector responsible for 40 per cent of all greenhouse gases in B.C.
Harbour Air’s electric-powered de Havilland Beaver was among the projects that had benefited from previous funding through the CleanBC Go Electric Advanced Research and Commercialization program. The province recently announced $5 million for another round of funding. (Photo courtesy of British Columbia Aviation Museum)

The provincial government says a recent investment of $5 million for zero-emission technologies is just part and parcel of a larger investment to help de-carbonize the transportation sector.

Interested companies can apply for the money through the CleanBC Go Electric Advanced Research and Commercialization program. It supports the development of companies operating in the provincial ZEV sector and encourages international investments.

The funding will support companies operating across all aspects of the zero-emission vehicle supply chain with winning projects to be announced in 2024. Successful projects must be completed no later than three years after their start date.

Notable projects that had benefited from past funding through the ARC program included the conversion of an existing Harbour Air Seaplanes DHC-2 Mk1 Beaver aircraft to be fully electric.

When energy Minister Josie Osborne announced the funding on Aug. 2, she pointed out that the transportation sector is responsible for 40 per cent of provincial greenhouses.

That prompted the question whether a figure of $5 million for research and other categories of support represents an adequate response to the search for alternatives in light of recent figures, which show that B.C. is failing behind its climate change goals.

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The provincial government has acknowledged that the response needs to be more substantial and faster in pointing to other funding designed to de-carbonize the commercial transportation sector. It requires larger vehicles, which must be able to carry more weight across greater distances than private vehicles. Meanwhile, existing zero-emission technologies are not yet easily transferable from the private vehicle sector to the commercial transportation sector.

This funding includes $17.3 million for two rounds of funding through the Commercial Vehicle Pilots designed to encourage and accelerate the adoption of commercial ZEVs among local businesses, non-profits, local governments, Indigenous communities and eligible public organizations. This funding comes on top of $40 million for program in the 2023 budget.

The province is also investing $30 million into the Commercial Vehicle Innovation Challenge, a program to support the development of B.C.’s medium and heavy duty ZEV technology sector and $19.5 million through the CleanBC Public Charging Program for charging stations for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.


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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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