An electric car is connected to a roadside charging station in Montreal.

Quebec to spend $514 million more on EV charging stations: Legault

The province has already invested $249.3 million in the stations as it strives to reach its goal of two million electric cars on Quebec’s roads by 2030.

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SAGUENAY – Saying it wants to show it’s serious about fighting climate change, the Legault government has announced plans to invest $514 million over the next five years to install more than 116,000 public electric car charging stations in Quebec.

But the idea of ​​slapping a new tax on gas cars or a mileage fee as an incentive for drivers to switch to electricity is out of the question, Premier François Legault said Thursday during a press conference that opened a two-day meeting of the Coalition Avenir Québec caucus. .

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“The answer to this is plain and simple: No,” Legault said. “We are taking a promotional approach. We already offer significant financial benefits (in tax credits) to people who buy electric vehicles. “

Legault said the new investment of $514 million is further evidence that the province is committed to efforts to combat climate change, despite criticism from opposition and environmental groups.

Quebec has invested more than $249.3 million in charging stations as it strives to reach its goal of two million electric cars on the province’s roads by 2030. There are about 200,000 electric vehicles in Quebec now.

Quebec has announced that it intends to ban the sale of new gas vehicles by 2035.

The new money will mean the addition of 110,000 Level 2 chargers and 6,700 fast chargers. Quebec already has more than 4,500 charging stations online, including 800 fast chargers.

Quebec has also set a target of adding 600,000 parking spaces for electric cars in large residential buildings.

“We know that reducing and ultimately eliminating greenhouse gases is a challenge for everyone in the world,” said Legault, who was accompanied on Thursday by Environment Minister Benoit Charette. “Quebec is ahead of other countries and provinces in North America. And we know where the best transportation work needs to be done.”

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He noted that Quebec has 42 percent of electric vehicles in Canada and 39 percent of charging stations.

“We’re ahead of all of Canada,” he said. “We promised that we will do this in the election. We deliver goods. It’s an opportunity. We have manufacturers of charging stations, so it is interesting from an economic point of view.”

However, Legault drew the line at being strict with owners of gas-guzzling cars. Finance Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon recently floated the idea of ​​a “mileage tax” to encourage Quebecers to buy fewer cars.

“In some cases, we’re hoping that in big cities, with the public transit we’re adding, maybe just one car will be enough and maybe not even one,” Legault said. “In the villages, we think that it will be necessary for people to have cars, but we want this car to be electric.”

Charette said the locations of the new stations will largely depend on local demand and needs.

“It’s not going to be the same solution for Montreal as it is for the regions,” he said. “We want all Quebecers, regardless of where they live and where they work, to have access to this network.”

Charette said that despite several power outages last winter, Hydro-Québec has foreseen sufficient supply to meet the demand that the new stations will create.

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He added that electric cars are one way to combat climate change.

“What we were talking about is not the only solution, but part of the solution,” Charette said. “We’re adding options.”

Thursday’s announcement came at the start of a day of closed-door meetings between the 90 CAQ MNAs to prepare for the resumption of work on Tuesday in the House of Assembly. Due to the nature of the public sector contract negotiations, the event is being held under tight security, with fencing around the Hotel Jonquière Delta as a precaution.

One of the big topics being discussed is whether the government should take more steps to help Quebecers cope with the cost of living, and if so, what kind of help it should take.

One day after saying any additional aid would be targeted at certain groups, Legalult appeared to focus any decision on future actions the Bank of Canada may take on interest rates.

“We don’t know what the Bank of Canada is going to do in the coming months,” he said. “We have to follow things week by week, the impact on Quebecers.”

Finance Minister Eric Girard was equally cautious, saying that if there were more measures, they would be included in his November economic update.

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“Economic reform will be more traditional, more traditional, and more targeted,” Girard said upon his arrival at the caucus.

A new lawsuit against the Quebec government was filed Thursday following a petition by Valérie Plante of Montreal and other mayors, who asked for changes in the way municipalities are funded. Legalult raised their anger when he rejected the request, saying that the province has no way to raise money.

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Knowing that the upcoming session of the National Assembly will be as rocky as the last, Legault warned his MNAs to prepare.

“It’s not easy to do politics these days, not just in Quebec – everywhere,” he told MNAs before the media were asked to leave the caucus room. “You have to be brave to get involved in politics, but we have a brave team and we will continue to change Quebec.”

The caucus continues on Friday.

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