In December 2018, the Government of British Columbia announced North America’s most progressive zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard, as part of the CleanBC climate plan. The objective of this law is to ramp up sales of non-polluting cars in the province to 10 per cent by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040. The legislation will be complemented by additional measures to make ZEVs more affordable and convenient to refuel.

Charging Forward provides recommendations to the government on how the zero-emission vehicle standard could be designed for maximum impact, drawing upon examples and experiences from California and Quebec. The authors support B.C.’s adoption of a ZEV mandate as a uniquely effective policy instrument. It drives innovation, provides more choice for consumers, increases zero emission vehicle sales, abates GHG emissions and has proven to be cost effective. The stated goals for ZEV sales are consistent with what research shows is needed to achieve 2030 and 2050 climate reduction targets.

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Key recommendations include:

  1. Continue to prioritize deep emissions reductions and ZEV sales goals
  2. Implement a simplified one-to-one credit system: one ZEV sale equals one ZEV credit
  3. Include a binding, inflation-adjusted per credit penalty for non-compliance
  4. Classify automakers according to sales volume on a proportional basis to the size of B.C.’s automotive market
  5. Carefully consider how the ZEV mandate will interact with other climate policies
  6. Do not provide early action credits for ZEV sales prior to the regulations coming into effect
  7. Allow manufacturers to bank their credits for future use, but limit the time frame to two to three years and limit the use of such credits to 25 per cent of total compliance every year
  8. Allow for separate regulations for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles