B.C. adding incentives for low-carbon trucks

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The B.C. government is expanding weight allowances for low-carbon commercial vehicles.

This will provide another incentive to encourage operators to “go green” with their fleets and help decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the commercial trucking sector.

The new allowance aims to offset the loss of payload capacity that commercial operators experience with greener vehicles. Low-carbon options weigh more than standard diesel trucks due to the size of their battery packs and hydrogen tanks.

To address this, B.C. is offering a 1,500 kg allowance to electrically powered, full-sized commercial vehicles and a 1,000 kg allowance to hydrogen-powered vehicles.

To further support broad adoption, the government will make increases to maximum gross combination vehicle weight, up to 65,000 kg and 64,500 kg respectively. This is consistent with allowances already made for liquified natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelled trucks and buses.

“Compared to low- and zero-carbon passenger vehicles, clean technology for heavy-duty vehicles is still in early development,” said Dave Earle, president and CEO, BC Trucking Association.

“These weight allowances make low-emission options more affordable for the trucking companies and drivers serving communities across British Columbia.”

This move supports the Province’s CleanBC goal of ensuring an ever-greater portion of vehicles on B.C. roads are powered by electricity, hydrogen and renewables.

“We’re the only province or territory to offer a weight allowance incentive that empowers trucking companies to make investments in clean technology upgrades, knowing with confidence that it will be a sound investment for them,” said Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure.

“Promoting the adoption of green technology is not only central to our commitment to fighting climate change, but is essential to positioning the province for a strong economic recovery.”

Currently, medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles are responsible for about 50 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from B.C.’s road transportation sector. They transport nearly 92 percent of all consumer goods (by weight) in the province.

“By working with the trucking industry, we’re accelerating the transition to a cleaner economy by making it easier for zero emission heavy-duty vehicles to get on the roads,” said George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy.

To track how many vehicles use extra weight, initially allowances will be available through letters of authorization. Following a 90-day notice period, CNG, LNG and LNG/diesel bi-fuelled vehicles will also be required to obtain letters of authorization.

Incentive programs

B.C.’s Budget 2021 included $94 million for the CleanBC Go Electric Program, which provides rebates for zero-emission vehicles, charging stations and funding to support the commercialization of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The province also provided $31 million for the Go Electric Specialty-Use Vehicle Incentive (SUVI) program to double the maximum rebates for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles available for B.C. businesses, local and regional governments, public sector organizations and non-profit organizations. Under the program, companies purchasing eligible vehicles will have access to 33 percent of the cost, with a maximum rebate for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles of up to $100,000 per vehicle.

Organizations in B.C. can also access $11 million in support for piloting unique or large deployments of medium- and heavy-duty or very large electric vehicles, such as domestic air, marine or rail transportation, through the Commercial Vehicle Pilot program. Eligible applicants can compete to receive up to one-third of total costs in rebates for vehicles and charging or refuelling infrastructure.