Open Letter To All BC Municipalities
An Open Letter on Climate Change to British Columbia Municipalities
March 3, 2016
Dear Mayor and Members of Council:
Re: Accelerating the electrification of the transportation sector
This open letter communication is from electric vehicle (EV) organizations and supporters representing hundreds of experienced EV owners and outlines the measures that need to be taken by municipal governments in BC to increase the adoption rate of EVs in the Province of British Columbia.
Following the signing of the Paris Agreement it is clear that we all have to do our part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We congratulate British Columbia for joining the International Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Alliance which is a major step in the process to reduce CO2 emissions.
The common belief that the effects of climate change can be mitigated before seriously impacting our children’s and grandchildren’s future is no longer valid. It is now evident that climate change has accelerated at such a pace that it is already affecting our current generation.
Please help make BC municipalities leaders in the reduction of CO2 emissions.
There are immediate opportunities to reduce CO2 levels originating from the transportation sector which accounts for 37% of all greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia. Unlike fossil-fuelled vehicles, electric vehicles emit no CO2, no nitrogen oxides, and no carbon particulates at the point of consumption. British Columbia is fortunate to have over 93% of its electricity sourced from existing hydroelectric facilities with almost no CO2 emissions.
Progressive auto manufacturers continue to increase electric vehicle offerings, but the mainstream adoption of EVs in British Columbia is being hampered by insufficient transition incentives, the lack of availability of EV models that are sold elsewhere, serious gaps in interurban and residential charging infrastructure, and a lack of education and awareness.
Although electric vehicles are expected to reach cost parity with fossil-fueled vehicles by 2025, we can adopt policies from countries like Norway and jurisdictions like California to attain the required earlier increase in adoption rates. The mainstream adoption of electric vehicles can succeed through synergistic actions by both the private sector and all levels of our government – federal, provincial and municipal.
Each level of government has specific actions that they can take in this effort. Municipalities can help by demonstrating leadership and taking actions in three key areas through electric vehicle infrastructure, vehicle purchases and operation policies, and education and awareness listed below.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure
1. Petition the Province of British Columbia to grant authority under The Local Government Act to enable municipalities to use their local zoning bylaw to require Zero Emission Vehicle infrastructure in new construction.
2. For homes without dedicated parking spaces or driveways, facilitate the availability of EV charging infrastructure by providing for front yard parking, resident only parking with curbside charging spaces or curbside charging for general public use.
3. Expand access to EV charging at municipal buildings for the public and at public works yards for employees and visitors.
4. Consider the installation of at least one DC fast charging station within your municipality for public use.
5. Determine the feasibility of designating a City block as a local “Electric Avenue” with charging capability for EVs.
6. Act as facilitator for the private sector in the development of DC fast charging facilities for use by commercial fleets.
Electric Vehicle Purchases and Operations
7. Implement “Green Default” purchase policies whereby plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) are purchased whenever possible.
8. Use lease-to-purchase agreements to accelerate the electrification of the municipal fleet.
9. Participate in joint EV projects with other neighbouring municipalities to test and operate medium and heavy duty all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
10. Exempt EVs from municipal parking fees (but not parking time limits) until 2025. EVs would be required to display approved time cards as used in other jurisdictions to ensure that parking time limits would not be exceeded without penalty.
Education and Awareness
11. Add “Electric Vehicle” identification signage to municipal EVs.
12. Accelerate EV awareness and education through:
- participation in public events showcasing EV technology for passenger cars, light and heavy duty trucks and buses.
- media outreach promoting EVs and infrastructure technology, and
- information sessions for developers, landlords and strata councils on the subject of providing EV charging capability for tenants and strata owners.
Through these actions, and related actions by the federal and municipal governments, British Columbia will have an opportunity to meet its CO2 reduction targets.
 A 10 word change to Part 14, Division 13, Section 525 of the Local Government Act