Go electric for free downtown parking in Kelowna

KELOWNA - There is a small but thriving market for new and used electric vehicles in the province’s Interior, enough to warrant the support of Kelowna city council through its Eco-Pass program.

Parking services manager Dave Duncan said his recent research showed about 60 classified listings for new and used electric vehicles in the region.

He also found a consumer could drive electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt off the lot at some local dealers.

Council was set in February to adopt Duncan’s recommendation that fossil-fueled subcompacts like the Smart car and Chevrolet Spark no longer be eligible for the city-issued Eco-Pass, which allowed the vehicles to be parked on-street for free, subject to time limitations.

Duncan recommended the pass only be issued to owners of battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles registered within the Central Okanagan Regional District boundaries.

However councillors had expressed some concern they were supporting a market so small it wasn’t worth supporting.

The new pass allows only two hours of free parking per day, will only be issued for one year and cannot be renewed.

Eco-Pass began in 2005 as an incentive for the owners of hybrid electric and fuel efficient cars, according to Duncan.

He said the original seven models of cars eligible for the program has grown to 35 with some 1,000 active Eco-Passes in circulation.

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