Québec Premier Jean Charest, accompanied by Nathalie Normandeau, Clément Gignac, Pierre Arcand and Sam Hamad, respectively the Ministers of Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister Responsible for the Plan Nord, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, and Minister of Transport, today unveiled Québec's inaugural Action Plan for Electric Vehicles.

The announcement came as part of a process initiated by the Premier to provide Québec with an Action Plan for electric vehicles. In the coming years, the province is commited to investing $250 million on the deployment and use of electric vehicles and the development of an industrial sector.

"The 2011-2020 Action Plan for Electric Vehicles is a key element in our effort to change our transportation habits," said Premier Charest. He added: "We intend to transform Québec society into a North American leader in the field of sustainable mobility through the use of hydroelectricity. The ultimate goal is to create an individual and collective transportation chain fuelled by electricity."

The Action Plan provides for initiatives aimed at the following:

  • encouraging Quebecers to use electric vehicles;
  • speeding up the introduction of electric vehicles, notably by developing vehicle charging infrastructure;  
  • supporting transit corporations so that they are able to choose electricity as an energy source;  
  • supporting the production of electric vehicle products and components, to ensure the province positions itself as industry leader.  

Commenting on the province's push towards electric vehicles, Minister Normandeau commented that "as the world's fourth-largest producer of hydroelectricity, which is a green and renewable form of energy, Québec has a number of assets that will help stimulate the use of electric vehicles within its territory and make the shift towards a less oil-dependent economy [...] in addition, the difference between electricity and oil prices is one of the most competitive in North America, and the choice of electricity for transportation is therefore a given."

The Action Plan for Electric Vehicles sets an ambitious target of 25% of all new light passenger vehicle sales to be electric or rechargeable hybrids, representing 118,000 vehicles or 5% of Québec's total light vehicle fleet by 2020.

In addition, by 2030, the Québec Government anticipates that:

  • 1.2 million electric vehicles will be travelling on Québec's roads - in other words, 18% of the total number of light vehicles currently on the road;
  • greenhouse gas emissions will have been reduced by 3.5 million tonnes;  
  • 1.5 billion litres of gasoline will have been saved thanks to the use of electric vehicles, or 17% of current consumption; and  
  • 95% of all travel on the collective transit network will be powered by electricity.  

On the contribution the Action Plan is to make towards Québec's climate change objectives, Minister Arcand declared: "It will play a fundamental role in meeting the challenge that we have set for ourselves between now and 2020, namely to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from their 1990 levels. This is the most ambitious emission reduction target in North America, and we are very proud of it. With this Action Plan, Québec will be able to transition towards a green economy by developing leading-edge expertise in the new technology."

The Action Plan also seeks to further develop Québec's expertise in the production of electric vehicle components, including batteries, electric motor systems and light materials via initiatives it hopes will generate private investments of $500 million in the coming years, increasing the number of direct and indirect jobs in the sector from 1,500 to 5,000. On the the topic, Minister Gignac had this to say: "our expertise in this growing industrial sector is outstanding. We must continue to stimulate research and development of innovative products, so that our industry is dynamic and even more competitive. Together, we can continue to structure the sector and transform Québec into a reference for electric vehicle technology."

Finally, Minister Hamad indicated how public transportation would be affected: "The review of Québec's collective transportation policy will allow the Government to clarify its orientations in order to speed up the electrification of collective transportation."

More information on Québec's 2011-2020 Action Plan for Electric Vehicles can be found here.