With incentive-driven electric vehicle sales curving upward in British Columbia, the provincial government is expanding a program to ensure there will be enough technicians to service them.
The province’s EV Maintenance Training program will be offered at three additional colleges, allowing automotive technicians to upgrade their qualifications.
The government is contributing $440,000 through its CleanBC Go Electric Program in partnership with Trades Training BC (a consortium of post-secondary institutions created to promote trades training) to extend the EV tech-training program to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, College of New Caledonia in Prince George and Camosun College in suburban Victoria.
The program was first offered in 2019 at the B.C. Institute of Technology in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby. It provided Red Seal automotive technicians with skills needed to work on electric vehicles.
“We’re supporting the growing popularity of EVs by helping auto technicians develop the skills they need to work on EVs in service centres across B.C.,” said Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation.
Ralston added expanding the program to four colleges in total around the province will make it easier for B.C. drivers to switch to EVs.
Eligible technicians interested in the program should check each college’s web site for course details, the government said in a news release. Training is scheduled to begin this fall.
The NDP government is pushing for rapid expansion of the EV fleet. The Zero-Emission Vehicle Act, passed in 2019, requires all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in B.C. to be zero-emission vehicles by 2040.
Generous provincial incentives on top of federal rebates has helped boost full electric and hybrid vehicle sales. At more than eight per cent, British Columbia last year had the largest zero-emission vehicle market share in Canada, with Quebec second and Ontario a distant third.
Buyers receive $3,000 for the purchase or lease of a new battery electric vehicle, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, or longer-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and $1,500 for a shorter-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Federal rebates can push the total up to $8,000. Vehicles with an MSRP above $55,000 are not eligible.