The P.E.I. government is taking a step towards battling climate change by purchasing four electric cars for the provincial fleet.
The province purchased the Chevrolet Bolts— two of which have yet to arrive — from Hillside Motors for $45,000 each.
“We want to promote the use of electric vehicles because there’s a tremendous reduction in carbon footprint,” said Environment Minister Richard Brown at the unveiling Wednesday.
The cars will be driven by environment ministry employees for duties like air monitoring and drinking water protection. They can travel 383 kilometres per charge, depending on the season, according to a news release.
The Bolt’s battery can be juiced up with a slow charger at home, but the province is also planning to install six fast-charge stations across the Island by this summer.
“They’re an important piece of infrastructure in order to make electric vehicles viable here on P.E.I.,” Brown said.
The government does not offer any incentives for residents to buy electric cars, though Brown hinted at a future announcement, saying budgets are being prepared.
He suggested a national program for electric vehicle incentives may be in development.
“One thing I’ve known about Islanders — they’re concerned about climate change and they want action and they want their government to take action.”
Along with the vehicle purchase, a contest is launching Friday that asks Islanders to share what they’re doing to address climate change in their own lives. The grand prize is $1,000 for a bicycle. For more information, visit takechargeforclimate.ca
Brown said he plans to talk to taxi companies in Charlottetown about an arrangement where the province would buy electric cars for them and the companies would pay for the electricity.
The government fleet has an estimated 363 light fleet vehicles that travel an average of 41,000 kilometres a year.
One of the new electric cars will be at the P.E.I. Provincial Home Show this weekend, Brown said.
“I’ll be driving it around and anybody that wants to take a test drive, sure, give me a call.”