Cities in Action: Saanich cashing in on electric vehicle rebates

With fewer than six weeks until the Second Working Meeting of the EU-Canada Urban Policy Cooperation, the District of Saanich is not waiting until their arrival in Almada (Portugal) to make headlines for their sustainability initiatives.

On 3 September 2015, Saanich announced an agreement with the neighboring City of Victoria that will see the two Canadian municipalities combine their purchasing power to procure 13 electric vehicles; this joint-purchase will earn the two municipalities over $100,000 (CAD) in rebates provided by the Province of British Columbia. Saanich will purchase four vehicles through the cooperation, and both local governments will earn a rebate of $8,250 per vehicle.

As a signatory to the British Columbia Climate Action Charter, the incentives for Saanich to expand their zero-emissions fleet go beyond the initial rebate and tax savings: over the lifetime of each electric vehicle, the District can expect to see an estimated savings of $3,000 in operating costs, as well as the reduction of the seven tonnes of carbon that would be emitted into the atmosphere with a conventional gas vehicle. The benefits of sustainable procurement and collaboration with fellow local governments are fully recognized by Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell, who believes that “by working together we can offer greater cost savings for taxpayers while meeting our carbon emission reduction goals”.

This purchase further entrenches the District of Saanich as a North American leader in the procurement of zero-emissions vehicles. Saanich was the first local government in North America to sign a pledge with the Pacific Coast Collaborative, wherein they committed to purchasing zero-emissions vehicles for at least 10 percent of all new vehicle purchases. Since making the switch to high-efficiency diesel and electric vehicles in 2007, Saanich has used 200,000 fewer litres of fuel each year. This has saved the municipality $280,000 annually, and has resulted in a total GHG reduction of over 700 tonnes of carbon. These moves have gone a long way to helping Saanich achieve its ambitious municipal greenhouse gas reduction target of 33 percent by 2020.

For more information on how the District of Saanich is leading by example on sustainability and climate change, please visit here.

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