Randy Holmquist says green incentives have come a long way in the 26 years since he started his business.
Holmquist is the president of Canadian Electric Vehicles, which is based in Errington.
Canadian Electric Vehicles was a part of the provincial government’s announcement on Friday. The province says it will provide $385,000 in incentives for zero-emission specialty-use vehicles, helping businesses and vehicle fleets lower fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the zero-emission vehicle sector in British Columbia.
The incentives, ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 depending on the type and retail price of the vehicle, will be provided to eligible applicants who purchase or lease an approved, new, zero-emission specialty-use vehicle.
Specialty-use vehicles are used on the job in factories and warehouses, on campuses and city streets. Zero-emission specialty-use vehicles include electric or hydrogen fuel cell motorcycles, low-speed utility trucks, heavy-duty transport trucks, passenger buses and airport and port service vehicles.
Canadian Electric Vehicles is the manufacturer of the Might-E utility truck, which Holmquist said they have been making for 13 years. The company’s website describes the Might-E truck as a neighbourhood electric vehicle ideal for use as an off-road work vehicle at campuses, malls, resorts, parks, airports and industries.
The Might-E truck, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $31,170, would be eligible for an incentive of $5,000.
Holmquist said they recently built their 100th Might-E truck.
Currently, the zero-emission versions of common specialty-use vehicles can be priced from 40 per cent to 600 per cent higher than traditional gas or diesel versions. The province says the incentives will help close the price gap and make zero-emission specialty-use vehicles a more attractive and economically viable option for fleet operators.
Todd Maliteare, an engineer with Canadian Electric Vehicle, said this incentive will also mean improved accessibility for municipalities and other potential customers in the province.
“This helps balance the cost between, or the cost-comparison between, this and similar gas-powered vehicles,” Maliteare said.
Holmquist said an increase in sales could also mean an increase in job opportunities. At the moment, Canadian Electric Vehicles has five employees.
In the company’s more than 20-year run in Errington, Holmquist said there has been a huge shift over the years in acceptance from the public regarding electric vehicles.
“Twenty-six years ago, I was the crazy guy trying to promote something that nobody had ever heard of, and now everybody knows what an electric vehicle is,” Holmquist said.
Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, who made the annoucement Friday, went on a test drive for the Might-E truck with Holmquist.
Stilwell said the truck is quiet and “really picks up speed quite well.”
“When you put that into context of where it could be utilized and how it can benefit different businesses who need those little bit heavier vehicles to do the labour and the work on the job site,” Stilwell said, “there are so many advantages to that, on top of the greenhouse gas emissions being reduced and getting away from the gas diesel vehicles that they currently perhaps use on their job sites.”
Funding for the specialty-use vehicle incentive program comes from the clean energy vehicle (CEV) program. The province introduced the CEV program in 2011 and has since committed more than $31 million to encourage British Columbians to choose clean, green vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.