Vancouver's Green Homes Program incentivizes electric vehicles

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      An ambitious plan by Vancouver imagines a future city where 70 percent of personal vehicles are either electric cars or hybrids.

      These machines have to plug in somewhere, and Dunbar resident Don Chandler has a bold suggestion.

      Under current bylaws, only 20 percent of parking stalls in residential buildings with multiple homes must be capable of charging electric cars. According to Chandler, this number isn’t enough to meet the needs of tomorrow.

      Chandler, chair of government relations with the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, is proposing that all parking stalls in new multifamily buildings be able to charge electric cars and hybrids.

      Asked by phone when the city should start making this a requirement for developers, Chandler deadpanned: “Yesterday.” Then, breaking into laughter, Chandler told the Straight there is no sense aiming for less than 100 percent if the city is serious about its Renewable City Strategy.

      That plan, unanimously approved by councillors on November 4, envisions a city free of oil and other fossil fuels before 2050. It also seeks to reduce, before 2050, city greenhouse-gas emissions to at least 80 percent below 2007 levels.

      Next year, staff will report to council on how to implement the strategy, which focuses on buildings and transportation.

      According to Chandler, building renovations are expensive, and future costs could discourage a switch to electric cars and hybrids: “It’s much cheaper to do it upfront.”

      Under the city’s Green Homes Program, new one- and two-family houses must be wired to accommodate an electric-vehicle-charging system.