Ontario cuts off rebates for electric vehicles costing more than $75K

A provincial government rebate program for people who buy or lease electric vehicles in Ontario will no longer include incentives for cars costing more than $75,000.

In 2016, nearly $800K in rebates were doled out for cars with six-figure price tags

A Tesla Model S charges at a Tesla Supercharger station. Electric and hybrid vehicles costing more than $75,000 will no longer be eligible for an Ontario rebate program. (Sam Mircovich/Reuters)

A provincial government rebate program for people who buy or lease electric vehicles in Ontario will no longer include incentives for cars costing more than $75,000.

CBC Toronto previously reported that in 2016 taxpayers shelled out nearly $800,000 in rebates for cars with six-figure price tags. That figure includes five payouts, at an average of more than $5,000, for one of the most expensive cars ever manufactured — the $1.1-million Porsche 918 Spyder.

That same year, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's government changed the rules and capped subsidies at $3,000 for vehicles costing more than $75,000. However, in a controversial move a year later, the rules were changed again so that cars with price tags between $75,000 to $150,000 were eligible for rebates of up to $14,000.

Government encouraging electric vehicle use

The Liberal government has been encouraging electric vehicle sales by doling out tens of millions of dollars in rebates to vehicle owners, offering various other incentives and programs, installing a network of charging stations and spending $1 million to open an electric vehicle education centre in North York. 

Under the new rules, which went into effect March 9, battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles over the $75,000 limit will receive no benefits. However, the new program now includes relatively rare hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which are still eligible for up to $14,000 regardless of price. The first fleet of such cars — where the only by-product is water and heat — was purchased in Quebec earlier this year.

The amount in rebates received depend on the vehicle's range using only electricity and available seating capacity.

Rules for receiving a payout include being on the list of eligible vehicles and having a new and roadworthy car. The rules also state, if buying a car, the owner must keep it for at least a year, or, if leased, the contract must be for at least three years to receive the incentive.

Cars ordered before March 9, and delivered with an application submitted by Sept. 7, will be eligible for the previous program's incentives .

With files from Mike Crawley and The Canadian Press