Engineer Bob Conibear tells North Cowichan council that he wants to see more plug-in hybrid vehicles on the roads. (File photo)

Cowichan engineer advocates for plug-in hybrid vehicles

Bob Conibear tells North Cowichan’s council move would reduce greenhouse gases

Bob Conibear wants to see more plug-in hybrid vehicles on the roads.

Speaking to council in North Cowichan on Oct. 4, the long-time engineer said the ongoing accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the main reason for global warming, and much of the pollution comes from gas-burning vehicles.

He said there has been a concerted effort over the past decade to encourage motorists to purchase electric vehicles to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but less than five per cent of vehicles on North American roads today are electrically powered.

Conibear told council the main problem has to do with the batteries that are required in electric vehicles.

He said the batteries require public-charging stations to charge up, and they are in short supply in many jurisdictions, so there’s no guarantee drivers will get to their destinations before their charge runs out.


“The solution is plug-in hybrid vehicles,” Conibear told council as part of his ongoing efforts to raise public awareness of the issue.

“You don’t need public-charging stations because the (gas) engine will charge the battery, which is much smaller than an electric one and can be charged at home at night.”

Conibear said plug-in hybrids use up to 90 per cent less fuel and produce up to 90 per cent less carbon that gas-powered vehicles, and would go a long way to help reduce the impacts of climate change.

“But the problem is the cost of plug-in hybrids, which are high,” he said.

“Everyone has an interest in this, and I’ve been trying to get the government to help out by providing rebates for those who buy plug-in hybrids. I spoke to a former MLA and was asked for a draft proposal which I submitted, but I never heard back on it.”

Mayor Jon Lefebure agreed there is a need to make plug-in hybrids more economical for the driving public.

He said he and his wife were considering buying a plug-in hybrid vehicle to reduce their fuel consumption, but they were expensive and didn’t qualify for rebates.

“I think the plug-in hybrids have great potential,” he said.

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