Open Letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory on Toll Forgiveness for EVs

TORONTO, ON – November 28, 2016 –

Mayor John Tory
City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2N2

Dear Mayor Tory,

 Re: Opportunity for the City of Toronto to accelerate the adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and drive early wins in the fight to combat climate change

At Pollution Probe and Plug’n Drive, we noted with interest your recently-announced initiative to introduce tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner express routes in the City of Toronto.  We understand and fully support the urgent need to combat congestion and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s transportation sources.

Beyond the clear public policy benefit of providing a revenue stream to fund Toronto’s urgently needed public transit infrastructure, we see an opportunity to signal support for another environmentally-beneficial initiative:  accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles.

As you may know, electric vehicles provide a zero tailpipe emission alternative to the internal combustion engine, of particular value in jurisdictions such as Ontario where electricity is generated by predominantly clean fuel sources.  In addition, when EV owners are encouraged to charge their vehicles overnight (such as with the Ontario government’s recently-announced program to provide free overnight charging) the overnight surplus base-load power capacity offers a way to marry broad public policy  and societal benefits to the more narrow interests of the individual, in the form of ‘free fuel’ alternatives for making this environmentally beneficial choice.

We, the undersigned, are calling upon you to help further encourage the commuting public to choose electric vehicles.  We are asking you to exempt all ‘Green plated’ electric vehicles from the proposed tolls.  This is aligned with the interests of Ontarians, Torontonians, and – as climate change is a global issue – humanity.  And of course, the Province of Ontario has taken an analogous stance by allowing all green plate vehicles to travel in the HOV lane with just one person in the car.

There is clear precedent for this kind of toll forgiveness.  Jurisdictions such as Norway and California who fostered a ‘pro-EV’ set of policies aligned with the rebates, HOV lanes, and parking benefits already in place have been able to spark a significant adoption of EVs, to the benefit of the environment, the climate and their citizens.

Currently, less than 1% of vehicles on Ontario’s roads are EVs.  We can and must do better.  We would be happy to meet with you and provide you with additional data and proof points to underscore the public policy, environmental, and household budgetary benefits of electric vehicles.


Ingrid Thompson, CEO, Pollution Probe

Cara Clairman, President and CEO, Plug’n Drive

P.S. We have invited further Torontonians and Ontarians to support this exemption request by way of an online petition.  We will be forwarding the outputs of this petition to your office next month.

About Plug’n Drive
Plug’n Drive is a non-profit organization committed to accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles to maximize the environmental and economic benefits. Since 2011, Plug’n Drive has established itself as a leader in the electric vehicle industry. It is a trusted source of unbiased information about electric cars, charging stations and the electricity sector.

About Pollution Probe
Pollution Probe is a national, not-for-profit, charitable organization that works to improve the health and well-being of Canadians by advancing policy and delivering programs that achieve positive, tangible environmental change. Pollution Probe has a proven track record of working in successful partnership with industry and government to develop practical solutions for shared environmental challenges.

For further information, please contact:
Plug’n Drive – 647-717-6941
Pollution Probe – 416-926-1907

Media Contacts:

Richard Carlson – Director, Energy
Pollution Probe
416-926-1907 x 251

Manasvi Thakur, PR Manager
Bubblegum Canada
(437) 366-4207