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The abandonment of Roulez vert does not threaten the electrification of the vehicle fleet, assures Charette

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “Over the next few years, the price of electric vehicles [will] fall, and around 2027, 2028 and 2029, we risk being on par with thermal models,” said Benoit Charette.

The number of electric vehicles sold in Quebec can only increase in the coming years, whether or not the government imposes a red light on its Roulez vert subsidy program, estimates the Quebec Minister of the Environment , Benoit Charette.

The electrification targets of the automobile fleet are not threatened, he assured Wednesday. “We are confident of reaching two million vehicles sold by 2030,” argued the CAQ elected official at the entrance to a meeting of the Council of Ministers, a day after his government announced the gradual abandonment of the rebate program for the purchase of electric vehicles. Quebec officialized Tuesday in its 2024-2025 budget its intention to gradually reduce the Roulez vert subsidies, to abolish them in January 2027.

However, the Legault government has also set itself the target of seeing two million electric vehicles on the roads in 2030. A goal that remains distant; at the latest news, the number of zero-emission vehicles registered in Quebec stood at approximately 240,000.

On Wednesday morning, opposition groups in the National Assembly took turns accusing the government of taking the wrong path. “Are we abolishing our objective of having 2 million electric vehicles by 2030 on the roads of Quebec ?” asked with a touch of irony the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Marc Tanguay . “We are talking about optimizing programs. Certainly, we are there, we are open to that. But to go from 400 million [in subsidies] to 0 while maintaining a goal of 2 million electric vehicles, that doesn't hold water,” he said.

Benoit Charette believes, on the contrary, that the most recent statistical data proves him right. In the press scrum, he highlighted the growing share of electric vehicle sales in Quebec — 23% of market share for zero-emission vehicles in the third quarter of 2023, according to the firm S&P Global. “It’s even, I would tell you, beyond expectations. And we are starting the year 2024 with so much enthusiasm,” he said. “Over the next few years, the price of electric vehicles [will] fall, and around 2027, 2028 and 2029, we risk being on par with thermal models. »

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Little for public transport

While he supports an overhaul of the program, the co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, has difficulty explaining why the funds freed up by the withdrawal of Roulez vert cannot instead be used to fuel public transportation. “I think it was reasonable to review this program to prioritize investments in public transportation, but the government is not going that far. This is the big problem with the budget,” he stressed.

In its Quebec Infrastructure Plan tabled on Tuesday, the Legault government plans to increase spending in this area by 0.3%. And although large public transport organizations are going through a period of deficit, no one-off support measure has been included in the budget.

The leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, criticizes the Legault government for moving “very quickly” in its intentions. “There is a tipping point, but we haven’t reached it. And here, we want to move quickly to remove the incentives because we assume that the difference between the price of an electric car and a gasoline car will be minimal. It’s far from clear,” he said. “Unfortunately, it could give oil companies and gasoline-powered cars a second chance to make a cheaper offer again. And there, we will have undone the progress we have made,” he added.

On Tuesday, the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, justified his government's choice by alleging that the funds devoted to Roulez vert would be better used in other, “more effective” measures to combat climate change.

“The cost per tonne is excessively high,” Benoit Charette said on Wednesday. It is an expensive program, but we are not gradually ending it because it is expensive. This is because we have the possibility, with the hundreds of millions of dollars that this represents, to invest them in programs with more probable results. »

Between April 2023 and January 2024, approximately $400 million was invested in Roulez vert. In his latest Plan for a Green Economy, Minister Charette had planned to release 244 million for the subsidy program in 2023-2024.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116