Ontario’s new Conservative government, led by Doug Ford, made a major announcement today affecting the automotive domain, as it cancelled the province’s rebate program for electric- and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
The decision comes at a time when sales of these eco-conscious vehicles are experiencing sharp growth in Canada. The increase is due at least in part to the debut of the Tesla Model 3, but it’s also undeniable that Canadian consumers are warming up to the idea of changing their habits when it comes to producing polluting emissions. It’s estimated that, this past June, plug-in cars accounted for 3% of vehicle sales; in 2017 over the same period, that number stood at 1%.
Today’s decision stems from Doug Ford’s electoral promise to reduce the price of gasoline by 10 cents per litre. His main tool for attaining that objective? Scrapping the cap-and-trade program that penalizes companies that over-pollute.
The current Ontario government says that the abolition of this program will allow families and businesses in the province to save $1.9 billion annually.
"Given the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program and the Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Programs are funded through cap-and-trade proceeds, these programs are cancelled."
- Ontario Ministry of Transportation statement
It’s almost certain that getting rid of the rebate program will have a negative effect on sales on electric cars in Canada’s most populous province, especially when you consider that the rebate could go as high as $14,000 for certain models.
Predictably, the decision by the Ford administration has caused an uproar on social media.
Ontario’s decision to axe electric-car rebates leaves British Columbia and Quebec as the only province where buyers benefit from added incentives to buy electric- and hydrogen-fueled vehicles.