BC funds programs aiming to reduce freight transport emissions

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by Emily Atkins

British Columbia is renewing funding for three programs that help the commercial transport industry move to zero-emission vehicles.

Three CleanBC programs are receiving new funding: the Commercial Vehicle Pilots (CVP) program, the Commercial Vehicle Innovation Challenge, and support for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle charging infrastructure.

“B.C. is already leading Canada in the switch to zero-emission vehicles for personal transportation, with a record number of British Columbians choosing to go electric,” said Josie Osborne, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation. “Provincial investments are helping to break down barriers and accelerate adoption, so we can power our economy with clean electricity instead of fossil fuels.”

B.C.’s commercial transport sector accounts for approximately 60 percent of B.C.’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, and 25 percent of total provincial emissions.

Seaspan Ferries Corporation has received support to acquire fast-charging stations and two large-battery electric vehicles to move heavy cargo. The Seaspan project is one of 20 projects that shared $17.3 million under the CleanBC Go Electric CVP program to support buying electric vehicles, including hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles and charging ports. The CVP program has a budget of $89 million over seven years, which includes $40 million from Budget 2023.

The CVP program encourages organizations to adopt medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to help decarbonize commercial vehicles, including on- and off-road medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, aircraft, marine vessels and rail.

“BCTA welcomes the government’s commitment to develop charging infrastructure at truck-only rest stops and create opportunities to adopt new technology as we work to decarbonize the commercial transportation sector,” said Dave Earle, president and CEO, BC Trucking Association (BCTA).

Under StrongerBC for the Commercial Vehicle Innovation Challenge, an additional $30 million will help address the technology gap in the hard-to-decarbonize commercial vehicle sector, while also creating economic growth, jobs and continued investment in a growing B.C.-based ZEV technology sector.

The Commercial Vehicle Innovation Challenge supports accelerating ZEV technology from the idea stage to market, helping innovators and entrepreneurs through the design and build phases of new clean technologies for the commercial vehicle sector, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, marine, rail and aviation. An expression of interest period is open for candidates specializing in ZEV technology.

To support British Columbians’ transition to electric vehicles, $19.5 million is being invested in specialist medium- and heavy-duty vehicle charging stations under the CleanBC Public Charging Program, allowing for 130 new medium- and heavy-duty charging stations throughout the province. This funding is in addition to $26 million previously announced for more light-duty charging stations throughout B.C.