A direct-current fast charging station for electric vehicles at Squamish. (Black Press files)

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

Less than half of B.C.’s car dealerships have electric cars available for purchase, according to a report released Wednesday from Clean Energy Canada.

The authors posed as potential buyers at 292 car dealerships across the province and found starkly different responses as they called around B.C.

In the Lower Mainland, 54 per cent of car dealership had electric cars, although buyers had to wait between a few months and a whole year in order to get their hands on one.

The number went down on Vancouver Island and along the Sunshine Coast, with 43 per cent of dealerships having electric cars.

In Interior B.C., just 27 per cent of car dealerships had electric cars.

But if you’re trying to buy an electric car, don’t head north: just seven per cent of car lots had one.

READ MORE: B.C.’s subsidized electric vehicle sales gaining speed

READ MORE: B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

The lack of electric vehicles up north may be tied to a dearth of knowledge about the rebates available to buyers of electric cars or the charges needed to keep them running.

The point-of-sale incentive program, administered by the New Car Dealers, provides up to $5,000 for purchase or lease of a new battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, or up to $6,000 for the emerging technology of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

In September, the province added $10 million to an existing $27 million fund for the rebate program, saying the cash it had set aside earlier was about to run out.

Up north, none of the car dealerships were aware of the province’s rebate program for either the cars or chargers.

In the Lower Mainland, with their much higher rates of electric cars, 75 per cent of car dealerships knew about the electric car rebate and 34 per cent knew about the charger rebate.

Across the board, researchers found that most salespeople were excited about selling electric cars.

“If we had more Bolts, way more would be sold,” one salesperson said.

“We just need the vehicles. They’re getting all eaten up in California.”

A survey conducted by the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. last month found that two out of five drivers are “definitely” or “probably” considering an electric vehicle.

Despite that, researchers spoke to customers frustrated with a lack of electric cars in the province.

Randy Rinaldo, of Burnaby, wanted to buy an electric Fiat 500 but had to go south of the border to find one.

“I was ready, willing and [an] able customer with money in hand to buy this car and there was no one to supply it for me,” Rinaldo said.

“We should just be able to walk into a dealership and buy these cars.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shuswap outdoor skating rinks open to public

Rinks in Celista and Silver Creek ready for outdoor fun

Slight drop in annual Salmon Arm bird count, seed sales spike

Shuswap Naturalist Club bird spotters excited to see several owls

Big projects ahead for Salmon Arm in 2020

Mayor Alan Harrison delivers annual state of the city address

AIM Roads responds to abuse of staff, public frustrations in Okanagan-Shuswap

Residents asked to be patient and respectful of workers

Lead in drinking water not meeting federal standards at North Okanagan-Shuswap schools

School District #83 looks to install water bottle refill stations, additional filtration

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Ethical errors proving costly for baseball

Paltry punishment, gag orders opposite of what’s needed; house cleaning, real justice in order

Ditched vehicle off highway sends Okanagan crews on multiple calls

Vernon Fire Rescue Services has had repeated calls about the vehicle between Vernon and Kelowna

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Most Read