Quebec’s Commitment to Electric Transportation

Quebec is a leader in the field of electric transportation. The fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity, a clean and renewable source of energy, in the world, it also boasts a reliable distribution network and world-renowned expertise. Quebec is also the Canadian province with the lowest per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The transportation sector is the main source of GHG emissions in Quebec, accounting for 41.7%. For this reason, two thirds of the revenues from the carbon market are reinvested in measures aimed at the transportation sector.

The electrification of transportation is key to reaching Quebec’s ambitious GHG emission reduction targets, which include a 20% reduction between 1990 and 2020, to which the government is fiercely committed. There are many other benefits to the electrification of transportation, including improved air quality, new business opportunities, household savings, and improving Quebec’s balance of trade.

It should be noted that spending on petroleum products amounts to some $12 billion a year. For this reason, the Quebec government is backing three major electric public transit projects: the Réseau express métropolitain, the extension of the Montreal Metro’s Blue Line, and the Quebec City tramway.

A few weeks ago, the government unveiled its first sustainable mobility policy intended to create an integrated, comprehensive, and effective vision for the development of transportation in Quebec. With this new policy, Quebec aims to become a leader in sustainable and integrated mobility in North America by 2030.

By combining land use planning and mobility, the government is investing in the promotion of low-carbon transportation, particularly electric transportation. At the same time, it aims to provide better service to citizens and support economic development.

Quebec has been encouraging the electrification of transportation for years. Several programs and measures have been implemented to support this movement. One example is the 2015-2020 Transportation Electrification Action Plan, which has a budget of over $420 million. The plan includes a goal of 100,000 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles registered in Quebec by December 31, 2020. On April 30, 2018, there were 27,014 such vehicles on the road in Quebec, and as this represents an increase of 72% since April 2017, Quebec is well on its way to reaching the 2020 target.

In 2017, nearly 2% of all motor vehicles sold in Quebec were electric, the highest percentage in Canada. Quebecers purchased nearly 40% of the electric vehicles sold in Canada in 2017.

However, moving to low- or zero-emission road transportation is not an easy task, even in Quebec, and we need to focus on both increasing supply and growing demand.

 

INCREASING SUPPLY

To increase supply, Quebec is counting on the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Standard, a measure that has been successfully implemented in several states in the U.S. The Standard came into effect in Quebec on January 11 and aims to increase the availability and diversity of zero- and low-emission vehicles. The objective is to give consumers more choice and to reduce wait times for the distribution of zero- and low-emission vehicles.

Manufacturers subject to the ZEV Standard collect credits by making zero- and low-emission vehicles available in Quebec. The Standard dictates that for every ZEV that is sold or leased, manufacturers receive credits, with the number of credits determined by the electric range of the vehicle.

Québec is also working to develop a charging infrastructure that will increase the autonomy of electric vehicle owners and spark public interest in the purchase of electric vehicles.

Charging stations, both public and private, are increasingly common in Quebec.

The two main public charging station networks in Quebec, Electric Circuit and FLO, are in constant expansion. The largest network in Quebec, Electric Circuit, is expected to reach 2,500 charging stations by 2020.

These efforts are paying off and consumer interest is growing everyday. To encourage this trend, the government is also taking action to grow demand.

 

GROWING DEMAND

Among the concrete measures made available to the public is the Drive Electric component of the Roulez vertprogram, for which funding is guaranteed until June 30, 2019. It provides up to $8,000 in rebates for the purchase or lease of a battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle and up to $4,000 for a used battery electric vehicle.

Consumers can also receive financial support for the purchase and installation of a 240-volt home charging station.

There is also a government rebate available to help with the installation of charging stations in the workplace as part of the Branché au travail component of the Drive Green! program.

Drivers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles with green license plates are allowed in several reserved lanes and can access the Société des traversiers du Québec‘s paid ferry services and the toll bridges on highways 25 and 30 for free.

 

DEVELOPING THE ELECTRIC TRANSPORTATION SECTOR

The Quebec government’s commitment to the development of a new low-carbon economy also involves the development of an electric transportation sector. In April of 2017, the government created the Propulsion Québec Cluster for Electric and Smart Transportation. This sector, which encompasses nearly 60 companies and more than 2,000 direct jobs, is growing rapidly and relies on proven expertise in the manufacture of transportation equipment and components.

There are also approximately 30 research groups working on projects related to electric vehicles in Quebec.

Quebec is firmly committed to the electrification of transportation and intends to continue to play a leading role in the fight against climate change.