All New Light Duty Vehicles Sold in Canada will be Zero Emissions by 2035

The Liberal government is speeding up its goal for when it wants to see all light-duty vehicles sold in Canada to be electric.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced Tuesday that by 2035 all new cars and light-duty trucks sold in the country will be zero-emission vehicles.

Until now the government had set 2040 as the target for when it wants to see all passenger vehicles sold to be powered by this technology.

Alghabra cited a recent report from the International Energy Agency that says by 2035 nearly all new light-duty vehicle sales would have to be electric to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century.

The Liberal government has already poured at least $300 million into a rebate program that offers consumers a break when they buy electric in hopes to get more zero-emission vehicles on the road.

Officials have warned that wasn’t going to be enough to reach the federal government’s first target of electric cars making up 10 per cent of sales by 2025.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said with the tougher goal the country would work with the United States on fuel efficiency and consult with stakeholders on new regulatory measures.

The news came after questions were made whether Canada should introduce a national mandate requiring the auto industry to make or sell more zero-emission vehicles is a question facing the Liberal government as it’s not on the road to meet its own targets.

The vehicles, known as ZEVs, are seen by Ottawa as a way to help cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to get to net-zero by 2050 and slash them by up to 45 per cent below 2005 levels within the decade.

Together, light-duty passenger trucks and cars typically make up the biggest polluting culprits within Canada’s transportation sector.

A parliamentary committee tasked with studying how to incentivize the purchase and production of electric vehicles recently recommended that Ottawa work with provinces and industry to “establish a national ZEV standard.”

Essentially, it’s a regulation that would require manufacturers and companies to make or sell a certain number of electric vehicles by issuing them credits and setting targets.

Such programs exist in British Columbia and Quebec — which lead the country, along with Ontario, for where most of Canada’s electric vehicles have been registered.

The committee’s final report says the design of such programs differs slightly by jurisdiction. It recommends any mandate be developed “while respecting constitutional responsibilities and the deep integration of the North American automotive market.”


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