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According to recent numbers provided by the provincial government, a growing number of drivers in Newfoundland and Labrador are opting for EVs in place of ICE vehicles. With 398 EVs registered in the 2022 calendar year, the total number of EVs in this region has now reached 715 — a 125 per cent increase over the previous year. Overall, the province’s numbers show that 4.4 per cent of new vehicles registered last year were either hybrid or electric vehicles.

Jon Seary, co-founder of Drive Electric NL, says the increasing number of EVs is indicative of an encouraging trend, even if the total number of EVs in Newfoundland and Labrador remains modest (for now). “We are at the very beginning of a real big upswing, a big uptick, in electric vehicle adoption. Exciting to see, but that gives us some time to prepare. We know what’s coming,” he said.

“If anybody is looking at this and saying ‘oh yeah, but there’s not even 1,000 of those vehicles here,’ you just have to look a little bit farther west to see what it’s going to go like.”

According to Seary, British Columbia remains a great indication of the potential for EV adoption across the east coast. Seary also points out that EVs present a favourable cost-saving advantage for local residents, when considering fuel and maintenance costs. “Every family that moves one car to electric can generally save somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 a year of their after-tax income in fuel costs. Maintenance costs and so on are on top of that,” he said.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Bernard Davis shares Seary’s enthusiasm, noting that a widespread switch to electric will be an important piece of the puzzle as the province looks to meet its climate targets.

“In this province alone, transportation accounts for some 40 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions,” Davis shared.”We think that’s a very big opportunity for us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the doubling of electric vehicles in our province year-over-year is where we want to be. Hopefully we’ll be able to continue that trend this coming year.”

Davis also noted that the province has budgeted over a million dollars to build more charging stations for electric vehicles, which will also be matched by the federal government. Back in 2020, a $2.2 million investment facilitated the installation of 14 charging stations across Newfoundland — a critical step towards establishing the local infrastructure needed for continued electrification.

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