End of On­tario elec­tric ve­hi­cle re­bate pro­gram likely to hit sales


On­tario Premier Doug Ford’s de­ci­sion to can­cel re­bates for elec­tric ve­hi­cles in the prov­ince is ex­pected to have a knock-on ef­fect on sales.

David Adams, pres­i­dent of the Global Au­tomak­ers of Canada in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion, said Fri­day that ex­pe­ri­ence else­where shows that sales of elec­tric ve­hi­cles take a hit when sub­si­dies are re­moved, such as when B.C. stopped and then restarted its pro­gram.

“When they can­celled it, sales went down dra­mat­i­cally, and then when they re­in­stated it sales went back up again. That is the same pat­tern that we’ve seen in other ju­ris­dic­tions in­ter­na­tion­ally,” he said.

Cus­tomers gen­er­ally look for some kind of as­sis­tance in overcoming the ex­tra cost of elec­tric ve­hi­cles, Adams said.

“The re­al­ity is that with­out some kind of in­cen­tive in place to bridge that price dif­fer­en­tial between a reg­u­lar in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine ve­hi­cle and the more ex­pen­sive elec­tric or hy­dro­gen ve­hi­cles, con­sumers just don’t pur­chase them in the same num­bers.”

The On­tario pro­gram of­fered up to $14,000 back for buy­ers, but the new Ford govern­ment can­celled the re­bate this week along with the cap-and-trade pro­gram that helped fund it as part of wider cost­cut­ting mea­sures.

Ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by Fleet Carma, 7,477 bat­tery and plug-in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cles were sold in On­tario last year.

The sales were an in­crease of 120 per cent from 2016, when in­creased re­bates were im­ple­mented.

The On­tario govern­ment has also can­celled an in­cen­tive pro­gram for elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing sta­tions that of­fered up to $1,000 to off­set the cost of a home or of­fice sta­tion.

B.C. and Que­bec, where sales were es­ti­mated at 3,270 and 7,194 re­spec­tively in 2017, still have in­cen­tives in place.

Que­bec also has in place a man­date for 10 per cent of new ve­hi­cles sales to be zero emis­sions by 2025.

Over­all ve­hi­cle sales in Canada grew 4.8 per cent to a record 2.08 mil­lion last year. By De­cem­ber, elec­tric ve­hi­cles ac­counted for 1.4 per cent of all sales.

There were nearly 48,000 elec­tric ve­hi­cles on Canada’s roads last year, up from 29,000 in 2016.


Premier Doug Ford leans in to lis­ten to Fi­nance Min­is­ter Vic­tor Fedeli dur­ing the first Ses­sion of the 42nd Par­lia­ment of On­tario at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Thurs­day. Ford’s de­ci­sion to can­cel re­bates for elec­tric ve­hi­cles in the prov­ince is ex­pected to have a knock-on ef­fect on sales.

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