Ontario Abandons its Electric Vehicle Incentive Programs

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【Summary】Following the election of Premier Doug Ford, Ontario, Canada abruptly canceled its incentive programs for electric vehicles and their charging stations.

Mia Bevacqua    Jul 21, 2018 12:10 PM PT
Ontario Abandons its Electric Vehicle Incentive Programs

Ontario – which accounts for more electric vehicle sales than any other Canadian province – recently brought its EV rebate programs to an abrupt end. 

Under new leadership, Canada cuts EV incentive programs

On July 11th, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation announced the termination of its Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program and Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Programs. Earlier in the month, the province canceled the cap-and-trade platform that had funded the rebates.  

The change was made under recently elected Premier Doug Ford, who spoke openly about canceling the credits.  According to the Ministry, and Ford, the action was taken in an attempt to "bring gas prices down by 10 cents a litre and help reduce costs for Ontario families and businesses by $1.9 billion dollars per year."

Beforehand, the program provided credits of up to $14,000 for EV buyers. A lengthy list of vehicles that qualified can be found on the Ministry's website. The Tesla Model 3 – which went on sale the same day the incentives were canceled – was one of them. 

Vehicles and charging stations purchased after July 11th no longer qualify  

Electric vehicles sold (or on order) through a dealership before July 11th will still qualify for the rebate. To be eligible, however, the unit must be registered before September 10th.  

Charging stations suffer the same fate. Only units purchased before July 11th qualify for incentives, and an application must be submitted within 60 days of that date. 

How the change will effect EV sales in Canada 

David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada industry association, predicts EV sales will drop as a result of the subsidies being removed. 

"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," Adams said. 

However, according to FleetCarma CEO Matt Stevens, EV sales won't remain down for long. 

"While this will certainly have a slowing effect, the long-term future of electric vehicles being where Ontario's going to go, it continues," said Stevens, whose group advocates for the adoption of electric vehicles.

According to data from FleetCarma, sales in Ontario of hybrid and electric vehicle sales were up 120% from 2016. Overall, vehicle sales in Canada grew by nearly 5% last year. 

Sources: Ontario Ministry of Transportation and The National Observer

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