The province has launched an electric vehicle rebate program in an attempt to woo New Brunswickers away from traditional gas-powered cars.
People who buy or lease certain new or used electric vehicles from a dealer in New Brunswick are now eligible for a rebate of up to $5,000. But the rebate can also be combined with federal incentives leading to a possible total of $10,000 for drivers interested in making the switch.
The announcement was made Thursday at NB Power in Fredericton by Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland, Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman and NB Power President and CEO Keith Cronkhite.
The province has designated $1.95 million for the year 2021-2022. This rebate can be used alongside the federal Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program, the province said.
Funding for the three-year program will be approved year by year, the release said, and is open to individuals and organizations.
Crossman said, "The program for electric vehicles purchased in New Brunswick, each EV [electric vehicle] sold reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the air pollution."
The minister also noted that transportation accounts for 30 per cent of the province's greenhouse gas emissions.
A failed target
The province had set a target of getting 2,500 electric cars on the road by 2020 but only managed to reach one-quarter of the goal.
With the rebate, the province is hoping that more people will choose electric vehicles to reach a far more ambitious target of 20,000 cars by 2030.
Crossman said, "We can't blame everything on COVID or the slow start up, but this incentive has to make a positive difference...Numbers will increase, I'm excited to look to see what benchmarks by December 31st and maybe by next April the 1st and go forward."
'We need alternatives'
The Conservation Council of New Brunswick welcomed the announcement in a release, "An electric vehicle (EV) is the next best option after switching to public transit to save money and avoid the rising cost of carbon pollution."
While Louise Comeau, who is part of the Council, approved of this step, she also said in an interview with CBC that more needs to be done.
"We are not solving climate change with everyone having an electric vehicle... we need alternatives to single-use or single occupant vehicles... we need more investment in electric or non-polluting transportation"
NB Power will be in charge of administering the program at first, by reimbursing people after a purchase is made. Later this fall, dealers will provide the rebate directly.