The City of Toronto recently announced that its first electric vehicle strategy will be considered by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee this week. What a good way to start the year.
Right before the federal election last year, I wrote about how you should consider climate change strategies before heading to the polls. While I do believe 2020 will be all about trying to increase housing supply, I think the demand for environmentally-friendly development will grow stronger, especially with the current crisis in Australia underway.
Toronto’s proposed EV strategy focuses on increasing charging availability, addressing cost and convenience barriers, increasing awareness and education, and creating opportunities to benefit the local economy. The proposal is part of the TransformTO climate action strategy, aiming for 100% of transportation to be zero-carbon energy by 2050.
“Vehicles are the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto and we must act now to ensure that Toronto is well positioned to meet our TransformTO transportation goals," said Mayor John Tory in a release.
So, what does this have to do with housing in Toronto?
More than a third of greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto are produced by vehicles. Many of the motorists living in Toronto live in condos, and the majority of these condos have parking garages without EV charging.
I remember many years ago when Minto launched their now complete and sold out condo at Front and Bathurst in Toronto, it’s called Minto Westside. They had a promotion where they were giving away an electric Nissan when you purchased a parking spot with an EV charger. I believe this was back around 2014-2015, and though that seems recent and I’m not sure of how successful the campaign was, I feel like it was ahead of its time.
Here we are in 2020 and the City is trying to figure out a way to make 100% of transportation zero-carbon energy. Now is the time for builders and developers to step up and make it easier for homebuyers to feel confident buying an EV.
I’d like to see more condo developers launching communities with the option to buy an EV charger with a parking spot. I don’t have the stats, but I’m seeing more and more Teslas on the road, and many more hybrid vehicles. Like it or not, EVs are the future, and for many, a vehicle goes hand in hand with a home.
"The City's Electric Vehicle Strategy is an important step to help Toronto residents and businesses transition to zero-carbon vehicles and a low-carbon city,” said Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 6 York Centre), Chair of the City's Infrastructure and Environment Committee. “Toronto must remain a leader in creating an environment that is ready for new technologies and the benefits that derive from them.”
The EV strategy will be considered by City Council on January 29. I’m eager to learn more about the plans and if there’s a greater role condo developers can play in getting more Torontonians in EVs.