Road to electric vehicle goals in Manitoba not smooth, experts say – Winnipeg | Daily News Byte


The federal government’s drive toward zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) is hitting some roadblocks in Manitoba.

Earlier this year, Ottawa set a sales target to encourage Canadians to choose ZEV. By 2026, their goal is for ZEVs to account for 20 percent of new vehicle purchases. By 2035, they want all new vehicles sold to be ZEVs.

More details:

Ottawa sets 2026 target for mandatory sales of electric vehicles

Connie Blikhavn of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association (MEVA) doesn’t think Manitoba is on the right track.

“We didn’t, not at all,” she said.

Blikhavn lives in Killarney, Man., and bought an electric vehicle last year. She plans her trips to Brandon and Winkler around the life of her car’s battery, but finds the charging infrastructure lacking and unreliable.

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“Brandon is my closest Level 3 charging point, and when they’re down, it limits where you can go,” she said.

Level 3 is the fastest type of EV charger, taking about 15-45 minutes to fully charge a vehicle’s battery.

According to the CAA, 68 of the province’s 94 EV charging stations are located in Winnipeg. Blikhavn says it limits the ability of rural populations to safely adopt electric vehicles.

“I know we’re a big area, but they have to strategically plan where they’re going to put them so we all have access,” she said.

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Tips when considering electric vehicles

ZEVs are often not available at dealerships – they must be ordered in advance. One dealership employee told Global News that demand far outstrips supply, with some customers waiting one to two years for a new vehicle to arrive.

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Mel Marginette of the Green Action Center’s sustainable transportation team is also cautious about Manitoba’s ability to meet the 2026 target. She believes the only way to get close is to change how fully Manitobans use personal vehicles.

“If we’re really concerned about the environment, we need to double down and triple down on just reducing personal vehicle travel on a massive scale,” she said.

Marginet points to transit, walking and biking as ways to reduce reliance on driving.

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“In this province, we depend a lot on personal vehicles and much more than we should,” she said. “My biggest concern is that we’re going to take resources away from what we need to build to get people to use personal vehicles less.”

For Blikhavn, the lack of charging stations in her area has led her to reduce vehicle use. While she says she’s fine with the extra planning required to travel, she believes a lack of infrastructure is preventing Manitobans, especially those in rural areas, from catching up with other provinces when it comes to electric vehicle choices.

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