The push is on to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and Newfoundland and Labrador is looking to bolster the electric vehicle industry at home.
On Wednesday the provincial government announced $974,003 in funding for the College of the North Atlantic to support the development of electric vehicle specialized training for journeypersons and first responders.
The agreement with CNA is to develop training modules to address the increasing numbers of electric vehicles in the province.
Jason Rolls, the college's academic vice-president, said the money will be used to develop courses for professionals already working in their industries so they can respond to situations or problems experienced by owners or users or owners.
"We will see a huge surge in the number of electric vehicles across the province in the coming years, and we will be there to ensure that we have people who are informed about what they do, service technicians who can fix them [and] we'll have first responders that can respond to any incident that may involve them."
The EV push
Two years ago there were 113 registered electric vehicles in the province. At the end of 2020 the number was 195.
Evan Cox, an automotive instructor at CNA, said Wednesday that manufacturers and dealerships do specific training for electric vehicles, but it's specific to the make and model of a car.
"It is very important to have a base-level understanding about how electric vehicles operate and work, but then they would need specialized training," he said.
There are 14 EV charging stations across Newfoundland, from St. John's to Port aux Basques, including one in Gros Morne National Park.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Bernard Davis said the Public Utilities Board gave approval for 19 more, including three in Labrador, which should be in place by next summer.
"Supporting programs that reduce global footprints and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are essential," Davis said.
In the 2021 provincial budget, the government earmarked $500,000 for an electric vehicle rebate program to provide a $2,500 rebate to people buying a new or used battery electric vehicle. The program is administered by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.
The training programs at CNA are expected to start next September.