A lot of people — and I’m one of them — frowned upon Quebec’s provincial mandate that 3.5 per cent of an automaker’s total sales in 2018 must be zero-emission vehicles. I’m with Mark Nantais, president of the Canadian Automobile Manufacturers Association.
“You can’t force supply for which there’s no demand,” he told Automotive News Canada in September.
He’s probably right, but you have to give all levels of government in Quebec credit; they're certainly trying to force the demand.
One only needs to look at four online stories out of La Belle Province in the last month or so.
Just this week, the province announced it’s partially funding the construction of a hydrogen refuelling station in Quebec City. It will primarily be used by the provincial government, which soon will have 50 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles in its fleet. They are expected to arrive by the end of the year.
Not long ago, the City of Montreal purchased 100 new 2018 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles. They are to be added to city’s municipal fleet, which at the end of the year should stand at about 230 vehicles. That’s nearly 13 times the number of EVs it owned in 2015.
Since the Leaf’s Canadian launch in 2011, Nissan says about 50 per cent of the sales have been in Quebec.
Thirty-five kilometres northwest of Montreal, the City of Laval is doing its part to spur sales of ZEVs: It will soon offer its residents $2,000 to buy EVs, making it the first Canadian municipality to do so.
Laval is getting the money from revenue generated through a specific environmental program it started in 2011.
Laval collects fees to offset greenhouse-gas emissions related to commercialand residential-development projects in the city. The cash will come from the reserve of the program.
The $2,000 is in addition to the $8,000 incentive already offered by the provincial government.
And that’s not all.
Three taxi companies in the Montreal area have banded together, calling on the Quebec government to offer a $5,000 subsidy to taxi companies that purchase EVs.
If the government obliges the trio, which represents 80 per cent of the taxi drivers in the region, it would mean EVs purchased for taxi use would be eligible for up to $13,000 in rebates, which includes that $8,000 already available to the general public.
While none of these things on their own will help automakers reach that mandated sales target of 3.5 per cent, taken together they might just make a difference and lead to similar policies elsewhere in the province.