You’ve probably seen more electric vehicles around. Sales have been steadily growing over the past few years as high fuel prices, environmental concerns, and improved access to the new tech grows.
That’s pushing Canada’s island province toward an electric vehicle (EV) boom.
The government of Prince Edward Island has taken steps to make electric transportation more popular on the Island, offering a $5,000 rebate on EVs and making their registration free.
“We’ve got some really high ambitions here in P.E.I. to reduce emissions and have been very active,” said Derek Ellis, director of sustainability for the P.E.I. government. “We’ve tried to think outside the box a little bit on our EV incentive.”
The number of EVs on Island roads has doubled over the past year.
It’s not just EVs, e-bikes are on the rise. The province launched a $500 e-bike rebate in June, just about the time Rising Tide Electric Bicycles opened in Charlottetown.
With over 100 bikes in stock, it’s one of the biggest dealers in Atlantic Canada.
Its owner said the response has been huge, with lots of people looking at ways to use e-bikes to get around.
“Some of them are using it to go to work,” said owner Frank MacEachern. “You can take it to work. You don’t have to worry about being all sweaty when you get to work and then you can turn the motor off on your way home and get lots of exercise.”
The rebate program has already seen 100s of people pick up an e-bike.
“We have had since June, 230 applications come through,” said Ellis. “We’re pleasantly surprised with the interest in e-bikes and similarly seeing a lot of them on P.E.I.”
E-bikes are more accessible and more convenient than regular bicycles because they don’t require muscle power.
That means if you have mobility issues, it might be easier to ride an e-bike than a pedal bike. Of course, the electric motor means you can travel places without breaking a sweat, and it means you could replace short car trips with rides on a bike.
With a range of around 80 kilometres, e-bikes are good on their own, or as a supplement to a car.
“It’s really four months of driving, and if you’re driving a half-ton truck, it’s probably two months of driving, and then you’ve paid for an e-bike,” said MacEachern.
E-bikes also look good to RV travellers, who’ve been able to replace a towed car with a bike.
As long as gas prices are high, alternative transport remains an appealing option.
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