Manitoba is an ideal place for the adoption of electric vehicles that plug-in…

— Government of Manitoba Made-In-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan

Transportation accounts for the highest proportion of greenhouse gases generated in Manitoba, 39%. Collectively, automobiles powered by internal combustion engines are the single largest source of those emissions. In its Climate and Green Plan, the Government of Manitoba states that One of the greatest opportunities for reducing transportation emissions is through electrification. That’s so true! For several years, members of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association (MEVA) have been proving that, in our province, environmentally-friendly electric vehicles are excellent alternatives to vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.

A year ago, Morgan Stanley published an estimate that “EV penetration forecasts could rise to potentially 10 to 15% (worldwide) by 2025.” The highest penetration is expected in the developed world and China. Because Norway has purchase incentives and a nation-wide network of direct-current quick-charge (level 3) stations, that country is already ahead of those forecasts. In 2017, 20.8% of all new automobiles sold in Norway were battery-electric (entirely powered by electricity).

The number of automobiles registered in Manitoba is well over 700,000. That number is growing with our population. The average age of those vehicles is 12 years. Consequently, we can expect Manitobans to purchase about 250,000 new autos in the next 7 to 8 years. Although electric vehicle prices are still higher than similar internal combustion-powered vehicles, EV prices are decreasing. Conversely, the range, rate-of-charge and variety of battery-electric models is increasing. If Manitobans had incentives similar to those in Norway, especially purchase incentives and a province-wide network of level 3 charging infrastructure, it is reasonable to expect that by 2025, over 105,000 automobiles in Manitoba (15%) could be plugin vehicles, and most of them would be battery-electric (entirely electric).

Facilitating the switch to battery-electric vehicles would be the fastest, most cost-effective way to substantially reduce greenhouse gases emitted in our province.

In the Manitoba Hydro 2017/18 & 2018/19 General Rate Application, one of the key reasons given for requesting increases in electricity rates is a “deterioration in expectations for domestic load growth… ”  By 2027, MB Hydro forecasts a drop in revenues of about $110 million per year, due to shrinking domestic demand.

At present Manitoba Hydro rates, the average battery-electric vehicle uses about $150 worth of electricity per year. Therefore, by 2025, income from charging about 100,000 battery-electric automobiles could reduce Manitoba Hydro’s projected domestic revenue shortfall by well over $15 million annually. By that date, electric-powered pickup trucks, delivery vehicles, transport trucks, farm tractors, mining equipment and construction equipment will be widely available. Income derived from charging those electric vehicles could further reduce MB Hydro’s projected domestic revenue shortfall by many tens of millions of dollars per year.

The electricity required to power all types of electric vehicles could entirely eliminate MB Hydro’s “deterioration” in domestic revenue.


MEVA’s Recommendations

Carbon tax revenues should be used to reduce carbon. Collectively, internal combustion engines are the single largest source of carbon produced in Manitoba. Therefore, carbon tax revenues should be used to facilitate the switch to environmentally-friendly, battery-electric vehicles. The following recommendations were derived from MEVA members’ own experience, and strategies which have have been measurably successful in locations around the world, including Norway, California and the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

With partial financing from the federal government, a consortium of private companies intends to instal quick-charge stations along the Trans-Canada Highway, through Manitoba (In Brandon, Portage La Prairie, Winnipeg and the R.M. of Reynolds). MEVA recommends that the Government  of Manitoba help facilitate the installation of an additional twenty-two quick-charge stations throughout the province.

    • three of those additional level 3 stations must be installed in Winnipeg, on major routes which lead in and out of the city.
    • The remaining nineteen level 3 stations must be strategically located on major routes throughout the province. One level 3 station is needed in each of the following municipalities: Melita, Glenboro, Winkler, Emerson, Steinbach, Lac du Bonnet, Scanterbury, Gimli, Eriksdale, Neepawa, Russell, Dauphin, Swan River, Overflowing River, The Pas, Ponton, Thompson, Grand rapids and St. Martin Junction.

The total cost of installing twenty-two scalable level 3 chargers, throughout Manitoba, is estimated to be less than $4 million. These locations will provide over 90% of MB drivers with access to level 3 EV chargers.

More level 3 chargers = more drivers switching to EVs

Because of rapid improvements in battery technology, within a few years, recharging newer EVs will be as quick as filling a gas tank. Therefore, the Government must invest only in level 3 chargers which are scalable (level 3 chargers which are capable of being easily upgraded) as EVs with faster charge rates become available.

  • Utilize carbon tax revenues to make it possible for more Manitobans to purchase or lease new or used battery-electric vehicles.

For many years, to encourage investment in the petroleum industry, Manitobans have been generously subsidizing those investments through programs such as the Manitoba Drilling Incentive Program. Similarly, to reduce carbon emissions, the Manitoba Government should award substantial carbon tax rebates to Manitobans who purchase or lease emission-free, battery-electric vehicles. Although the fuel (electricity) and maintenance costs of battery-electric vehicles are lower than those of similar internal-combustion-powered vehicles, the initial purchase prices of battery-electric vehicles aren’t yet as low as those of similar internal-combustion-powered vehicles. Programs to reduce the purchase price differential have been very effective in Norway and elsewhere.

  • Utilize carbon tax revenues to eliminate the provincial sales tax on parts used to convert internal-combustion-powered vehicles to electric power.
  • Encourage the widespread installation of level 2 EV charging infrastructure, especially for residential parking.
    • utilize carbon tax revenue to eliminate taxes from all costs associated with the installation of residential and commercial EV charging facilities.

That will persuade builders of new single-unit and multi-unit housing to make the parking facilities at those housing units EV ready. An “EV ready” parking facility is one which has sufficient electrical service (e.g. meter, panel, wires) in place, to enable EV chargers to be installed at a later date. Being EV ready makes it relatively simple and inexpensive to install level 2 chargers at each parking stall, as demand grows. Making parking facilities EV ready after construction is finished usually requires renovations, which may need to be extensive and, therefore, more expensive.

    • utilize carbon tax revenue to offset the additional costs associated with the installation of residential charging facilities for owners of existing single-unit and multi-unit housing.
  • In its Climate and Green Plan, the Government of Manitoba declares its intention to lead by example. To accomplish this, the Government should
    • install the appropriate level 2 charging infrastructure necessary to enable all automobiles purchased or leased by government departments and crown corporations to be battery-electric; and,
    • as each government department and crown corporation parking location is equipped with sufficient level 2 chargers, mandate that all future purchases or leases of automobiles for that location be battery-electric.

The Manitoba Government Vehicle and Equipment Management Agency manages approximately 2600 vehicles, which use tens of millions of litres of fuel per year. Many of those vehicles could be electric.

  • Facilitate the acquisition of battery-electric buses for public transit.
  • Include elected representatives from Manitoba’s electric vehicle community on all boards and committees making policies, plans and decisions pertaining to transportation.

Norway and California are indisputably world leaders in the switch to  electric vehicles. Governments and businesses in those and other locations have discovered that, to enable and encourage drivers to switch to EVs, it’s essential to have successful partnerships with their respective electric vehicle associations.

  • Partner with the MB electric vehicle community in the development and implementation of an effective, community-based, EV public awareness campaign. That’s been very successful in Norway.

Manitobans will be more likely to favour a carbon tax, if that carbon tax revenue is primarily used to reduce carbon emissions. MEVA’s recommendations would make clean, battery-electric transportation a convenient and more affordable choice for most Manitoba households, businesses and government agencies.

Powering vehicles exclusively with made-in-Manitoba electricity would save Manitobans billions of dollars on fuel and maintenance costs annually, while eliminating the single largest source of carbon emitted in our province. So, let’s give more Manitobans the opportunity to enjoy environmentally-friendly, battery-electric vehicles. Compared to vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, environmentally-friendly battery-electric vehicles are far less expensive to operate, easier to maintain and much more fun to drive!

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