While many may perceive electric vehicles (EVs) as something more suited for city-dwellers, Kootenay residents are purchasing them on a pace similar to residents of the Lower Mainland.
The Community Energy Association says this is in part due to rural governments, such as the Regional District of East Kootenay and local governments, taking early leadership in making sure the charging infrastructure was in place.
They supported the design and implementation of an extensive EV charging station network back in 2018 – Accelerate Kootenays (a project led by the RDEK, along with the Regional Districts of Kootenay Boundary and Central Kootenay), facilitated by the Community Energy Association (CEA).
The overall goal was to make sure there were sufficient charging stations to allow people who drive EVs to travel freely around the region.
“I am proud of the progress that is being made in our region, we are leading the way and continue to push ahead with what I see as our obligation to take measures that facilitate the introduction of clean technologies,” said RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay, in a press release.
Accelerate Kootenays has secured an additional $1 million to provide charging stations at private businesses, public organizations, non-profits and local government locations. These stations will be eligible for up to 50 per cent of the funding covered by Accelerate Kootenays. Furthermore, funding from the Province of BC can contribute an additional 25 per cent.
“The foresight that the RDEK showed back in 2016 to recognize the potential regional benefits of supporting EVs, is truly visionary; it set our region up for ongoing economic and environmental success,” said Megan Lohmann, Deputy Executive Director for CEA and Community Energy Manager lead for the RDEK. “We were ahead of the curve six years ago with early support and infrastructure. So now, residents and businesses can adopt EVs because it makes economic sense, and that’s exciting to see; the cost savings have been a game changer for some.”
Organizations interested in accessing funding for EV chargers should visit https://acceleratekootenays.ca/2-0/