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Discount Program for Electrical Vehicles: Federal Government Makes it Official

The Government of Canada made it official this week, announcing it will roll out its new iZEV program offering incentives to buyers of zero-emissions vehicles on May 1, 2019. And for buyers of electric vehicles in British Columbia and Quebec, the good news is that they can combine this discount with the one offered under their province’s existing incentives program.

The new federal discount can be up to $5,000. Residents of B.C. currently can benefit from a discount of up to $5,000, while in Quebec the provincial discount tops out at $8,000, meaning residents there can, as of May 1, enjoy a discount of up $13,000 on their next EV purchase.

The government’s decision to implement its own EV rebate program is born of necessity. Sales of electric cars have not progressed as hoped, and the Ontario government’s decision to pull the plug on its own provincial incentives program has not helped. This new program will hopefully reinvigorate interest in EVs in that populous province.

There’s also the small matter of a looming federal election, which may have played its part in motivating the government’s action!

The implementation of the iZEV program should be especially well-received by residents of provinces with no incentives program of their own. As of May 1, potential EV buyers there will have a significant new motive to take the leap.

Photo: D.Boshouwers

Eligible vehicles
The program groups vehicles into two separate categories: those with seven or more seats, and those with six or fewer. Only all-electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are eligible.

$45,000 maximum MSRP
In the case of vehicles with six seats or less, the discount is applicable if the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is under $45,000. Worth noting: Even if you decide to go for a higher trim of a model that’s more expensive than that, up to maximum of $55,000, as long as the base model’s MSRP is below the magic $45,000 mark, your purchase is eligible.

Also worth noting is that the transport and preparation fees are not to be calculated in the price.

When it comes to vehicles with at least seven seats, the maximum MSRP for a vehicle to be eligible is $55,000, and the maximum allowed sale price on a top-end model is $60,000.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles
The program also outlines two categories of plug-in hybrid vehicles: short-range and long-range. The cutoff between the two is 50 km, so that PHEVs with a range of over 50 km are eligible for the full $5,000 discount, while those with less than are eligible for a discount of $2,500.

Among the popular models eligible for the maximum $5,000 discount, we find the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona Electric, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Nissan LEAF (also the upcoming new LEAF PLUS). As well, Kia Canada this week announced pricing for its new Niro EV and Soul EV models, and both will be eligible for the full discount under the new program.

Models not eligible for any discount given their current starting prices? BMW i3, Tesla Model 3, Jaguar I-PACE, Audi e-tron...

Photo: D.Boshouwers

For those who lease an EV, the full $5,000 discount is available on condition the lease contract is for 48 months; otherwise the discount is calculated on a pro-rata basis. A 36-month lease, for example, nets a discount of $3,750 (75% of the maximum). For vehicles eligible for a $2,500 discount, that 75% works out to $1,875.

The federal government has established a list of vehicles eligible for the iZEV program, which it will update regularly. You can consult the list here.

Patience, patience…
Those interested in acquiring an electric vehicle will have to be patient, at least a little. The program takes effect on May 1, and only vehicles purchased or leased after that date will be eligible. We expect that sales of EVs will crawl to a halt for the next two weeks.

And then they should explode. Take the example of the Hyundai Kona Electric. Right now, the popular new small SUV retails starting at just under $45,000. If you live in Quebec and wait until after May 1, you’ll benefit from $13,000 in discounts on that car.

Hyundai Kona Electric
Photo: D.Boshouwers
Hyundai Kona Electric

As for the details regarding the application of taxes, etc., the federal government will provide further details as the May 1st start date approaches. We’ll be updating you as that info becomes available.

We should point out one last detail, and that is that companies can also benefit from discounts under the iZEV program, though there a few differences in how it applies to them. For example, while individual consumers are limited to one discount per year, companies are eligible for 10 discounts annually.

Stay tuned as more details become available.