In what it’s calling a first for a Canadian city, Laval is offering its citizens a $2,000 subsidy for the purchase of an electric vehicle and $400 for electric bicycles.
“We think that pollution is a social problem,” said Laval Mayor Marc Demers at the Montreal Electric Vehicle Show, where he made the announcement.
“I think people will go for it,” he said, “… as soon as they realize that it’s a very good decision on the economic side — and also to fight pollution.”
The city is also offering a $400 subsidy to anybody buying an electric bicycle or any bicycle at least partly assisted by electricity.
Laval plans on putting 29 more charging stations throughout the city by the end of 2019 — seven of which will be fast-charging. There are already some stations in place: at Laval City Hall, Place Bell and two municipal arenas.
The subsidy is in addition to the $8,000 grant already offered by the Quebec government.
Initiative applauded by premier
Premier Philippe Couillard was on hand for the announcement and said he hopes other big cities in Quebec follow Laval’s example.
However, he also recognized the limitations of the subsidies, since not all cities and towns have room in their budget.
“You cannot ask this [of] a small town or smaller municipalities, but if at least our larger cities get on board, that would be fantastic,” he said.
“It’s a sound economic choice. Away from the ideology, ‘Am I green, half-green, more green, less green?’ At the end of the day, in dollars and cents, now it starts to make a lot of sense.”
Money from environmental fees
The City is funding the subsidies from revenue derived from an environmental program put in place in seven years ago.
Since 2011, commercial and residential developers have had to pay fees to offset the possible greenhouse-gas emissions that arise from new construction.
The funds generated from those fees have been set aside for projects that further reduce greenhouse gas, such as the electric car subsidy.
Demers says as far as Laval knows, it is the first initiative of its kind for a Canadian city.
Laval’s executive committee has approved the project, but it still needs to go through municipal council. Demers’s party has a majority on council, so the bylaw is all but guaranteed to pass.