Environment Minister Terry Lake

The Vancouver International Auto Show is now well underway at Vancouver Convention Centre. This morning, media were invited to have breakfast and hear opening remarks, one of which was big news for consumers considering a clean energy vehicle purchase. Environment Minister Terry Lake announced that the BC point-of-sale incentive program, originally due to have expired at the end of this month, has been given a one year extension.

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BC residents can receive up to $5,000 on a qualifying CEV, including fuel-cell electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas and new battery electic vehicles. To date, 111 residential rebates for charging stations have been given. As well, $600,000 will be handed to BC for clean energy research.

Another positive outcome of BC car companies is that 70% are involved with charitable organizations and give back to the community.

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[Fender Beetle, Super Beetle Turbo, 1952 Classic Beetle Unveiled!]

Our rather large group was then led down to the show floor where Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, BMW/Mini, Volvo, Subaru, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and Chrysler/Fiat spokespersons introduced new model cars, trucks, hybrids, sports cars and SUVs. The common themes that carried over to most of the car manufacturers were customer engagement, comfort, safety, environment, and lifestyle.

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Here’s a look at a few key points learned during the tour:
– A VW Beetle convertible’s top drops in less than 10 seconds.
– Every 6.4 seconds, a Chevrolet is sold.
– Cyclist and pedestrian detection features are now built into Volvo cars.
Audi sold over 1.455 million vehicles last year – a new world record.
– 2013’s Smart Fortwo transports passengers 138 km in the city without producing any emissions.
Ford is tripling production capacity for electrified vehicles through 2013.
– A Fiat 500L’s five characteristics: affordability, fuel efficiency, value, stylish, fun to drive
Subaru’s XV Crosstrek is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in N. America.
MyFord Mobile app allows Ford e-vehicle owners to control their vehicles remotely.

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At one corner of the show is The Exotics, where Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, McLaren, and Rolls-Royce showpieces are clustered together.

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The Vancouver International Auto Show represents over 30 distinct brands from the world’s leading manufacturers. The show continues through March 31. Visit the website for hours, tickets, and detailed information.

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