VEVC Submission to City of Victoria Mobility Town Hall

VEVC Submission to City of Victoria Mobility Town Hall

Friday Morning, VEVC Board Member Glenn Garry made the following presentation to the City of Victoria’s Town Hall discussion on Low Carbon Mobility.

City of Victoria Council, and Staff, my name is Glenn Garry and I am here on behalf of the Victoria Electric Vehicle Association and our 800 members.

First, I’d like to congratulate City Staff, and those in this chamber, for the very good work evidenced in the Victoria Climate Leadership Plan. The courage to see and plan beyond the day to day challenges of municipal governance is commendable and you have set a fine example for other municipalities, as well as other levels of government.

Our association’s mandate is “to accelerate the change to a sustainable energy future.”  This is beyond just electric vehicles.  When we speak to the public and advocate for electric transportation, we know that once the citizen experiences vehicle mobility without fossil fuels they never look at energy the same way again; they tend to look at everything else in their control and seek to remove fossil fuels from their lives wherever possible.  Being pioneers in electric vehicles we seek to provide leadership to our fellow citizens and show the way by our example.

Similarly the City of Victoria has a leadership opportunity to transform the views of citizens, adjoining municipalities, municipalities throughout the province, and the province itself. 

For example, Victoria can lead the Union of BC Municipalities in defining requirements for three or four classes of electric vehicles for municipal fleets and resolve to create a large buying pool. Defining a large market for these vehicles would ensure interest from manufacturers and scales of economy to the vehicle fleet at purchase.  For internal city transport, similar acquisition strategies for battery electric buses would yield similar results.  The City of Victoria could also eliminate diesel pollutants being burned deep within residential areas by encouraging local school boards, and the Provincial government, to renew school bus fleets with Battery Electric Vehicles.

Commercial companies operating within Victoria can be encouraged to shift to fully electric vehicles. For example companies like Geazone and Tesla Tours are proving that they can meet the triple bottom line and thrive while not contributing to Victoria’s GHG footprint.  Conversely, companies relying on high GHG propulsion systems (gas and diesel) should be encouraged to shift away from pollution.  Encouragement through progressive taxation i.e. encouraging what doesn’t pollute and discouraging what does may be required.

Citizen mobility without fossil fuels can be encouraged through getting zoning requirements supporting Managed Level Two electric charging in all new construction and finding ways to aid similar charging retrofits of older buildings, especially older MURBs. Car sharing services, like Modo, featuring more electric vehicles, would further reduce Victoria’s footprint, and these co-ops could also have an educational function by allowing more citizens to experience electric vehicles. Of course the lowest GHG mobility is active transportation, but this group is well aware of that.

Victoria also has an opportunity to provide leadership to the Capitol Regional District in the choices of “low carbon” mobility.  As we all know, the electricity enjoyed by 98% of British Columbians is very low carbon hydro-electric power that has a large distribution system already in place for very low prices.  Conversely, the CRD has seen fit to move ahead with approval of a hydrogen fueling station in Saanich. Commercial scale hydrogen is created from steam reformation of the powerful GHG Methane (natural gas) where every 1kg of hydrogen requires 9kg of water and produces 5kg of CO2.  While the vehicle using the hydrogen is emissions free, the “fuel” is not. Additionally, each station only supports 50 cars a day and costs $2.5 to $3 million. That same funding can build 40 Level 3 electric chargers and support over 1900 EVs a day.  Thus, from environmental and social equity points of view, Hydrogen is a non-starter that Victoria would do well to steer clear of.

In conclusion, may I repeat that the Climate Leadership Plan, and this council’s courage to proceed with it, are to be applauded.  The Victoria Electric Vehicle Association would be pleased to aid council and staff in any way to bring forward a better, more sustainable, energy future.