The B.C. and federal governments are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into electric vehicle subsidies, purportedly to power the province and the country towards a cleaner future. February’s B.C. budget maintained generous electric vehicle rebates and earmarked significant dollars toward expanding charging stations. The recent federal budget, meanwhile, introduced a new subsidy of up to $5,000 for zero-CO2 emission vehicles.
A “zero-emission” vehicle, however, is a misleading description. While electric vehicles do not produce carbon-dioxide emissions while driving down the road, the manufacturing of such cars and their batteries are certainly not “zero emission.”
As Fraser Institute researchers Elmira Aliakbari and Ashley Stedman have written: “Building a car battery for a sport-utility vehicle (1,100 pounds) could emit up to 74 per cent more CO2 than producing an efficient conventional gas-powered car” if the battery is manufactured in a coal-powered factory. And by 2021, they write, “most of the battery components for electric vehicles” will be made in China, Thailand, Germany and Poland, which all rely on coal.