Electric vehicle advocate 'disappointed' province is slashing incentives for pricier models

The Ontario government’s decision to scrap incentives for more expensive electric cars is drawing criticism from some proponents of the vehicles. The province recently eliminated a rebate for electric vehicles that cost more than $75 thousand.

Ontario government eliminates rebates for electric vehicles costing more than $75K

A row of Tesla Model S sedans are seen outside the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California April 30, 2015. The Ontario government recently decided to eliminate a rebate for electric vehicles that cost more than $75 thousand. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

The Ontario government's decision to scrap incentives for more expensive electric cars is drawing criticism from some proponents of the vehicles.

The province recently eliminated a rebate for electric vehicles that cost more than $75 thousand.

The incentive program initially drew criticism in April 2016, after CBC Toronto reported some buyers had received the rebate for vehicles with six- and seven-figure price tags.

The issue is a "double-edged sword" according to Devin Arthur, the founder of the Greater Sudbury Electric Vehicle Association.

Incentives help generate demand

"On one hand you want rebates because it entices people to purchase electric vehicles. On the other hand, I can see how people are finding anything over $75 thousand a bit too much," he explains.

But Arthur argues that the incentives are necessary to help steer the market away from gas-powered vehicles.

Devin Arthur, the founder of the Greater Sudbury Electric Vehicle Association, is disappointed that the province is scrapping incentives for more expensive electric cars. (Erik White/CBC )

He adds that even less expensive electric models — like Tesla's Model 3 — could still lose out on incentives.

According to Tesla's website, the Model 3 starts at $35 thousand USD, which works out to about $44 thousand CAD.

"Just from speaking to people in the industry, they're concerned that the Model 3 pricing might even approach that $75 thousand pricing if you add on all the features," Arthur says. "So that's always a concern for people who don't necessarily know the upfront pricing yet."

Arthur says the rebate ultimately generates more demand and encourages auto makers to make the transition to electric — and that means the incentives will eventually become unnecessary in the long run.

"You'll see every single model come out after a certain date that'll be electrified, so I think once you see the market saturated enough, that they'll be able to remove these rebates."

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