‘It sounds great on paper, but I was disappointed’

Image copyright John Kirkpatrick/flickr Image caption The new program is part of Ontario’s plan to phase out gas and diesel vehicles by 2040

The Ontario Liberal Party will offer rebates of up to $6,000 (about £4,830) to encourage more drivers to buy electric vehicles.

The rebate will be available at government-owned dealer lots to car owners “stuck in a gas-guzzling rut”, according to the provincial government.

But the Lib-s are facing a backlash from some of the vehicle-owners who have already purchased an electric car.

“It sounds great on paper, but I was very disappointed to hear that it is now un-enforceable,” said David Simpson, who owns a Chevrolet Bolt Electric.


“I honestly have not understood how they can force people into getting an electric vehicle and not even take into account whether they can afford one.

“They are making it sound like people who are given the right to buy one need to do it anyway, which is not the case. There are some who actually might not want an electric vehicle and, again, these are not even covered.”

Michigan: The state to lead the way

Critics say it is the wrong approach to lower carbon emissions and force people into greener cars.

To generate the money for the incentive, the government plans to slap a 3% provincial sales tax on all electric vehicle purchases, while charging a higher fee to build a more efficient grid.

That means many drivers will be worse off overall, critics say.

“Unfortunately, the government is really putting forward a plan to exclude Ontario consumers from the technology, from getting the benefits of EVs without giving them any equal opportunity to get the discount,” said Kadeen Niazifi, the director of electric vehicles for KPMG Canada.

“They’re telling the motoring public it’s not just a zero-emission option but also a luxury option.

“It’s really concerning because it sends a confusing message about what EVs really are, and that is not a luxury option for everyone.”

Image copyright Getty Images

The Ontario government claims it will save the average owner the cost of about $2,800 to $3,000 on their new electric vehicle.

But the Liberal party, which is neck-and-neck with the Progressive Conservatives in the polls, argues that the rebate will expand the market and keep gas-guzzling vehicles off the road.

The Liberal party came to power in 2003 after a referendum. Under the previous Ontario government the way the province financed the purchase of low-emission vehicles was by a carbon tax on the provincial oil industry.

The back of a delivery truck comes with plenty of electricity Image copyright Chris Depoe

But opposition parties claimed the policy was unfair and burdened motorists with a sizeable toll.

Under the current deal, the governing Liberals are working with three companies which would maintain and replace the province’s faulty electric grid.

But the cancellation of that program in 2016 and the introduction of the electric vehicle rebate do not sit well with some consumers.

Partnership contains ‘major flaws’

They point out that the government’s own infrastructure agency has already guaranteed the construction of 40,000 charging stations by 2020 at no cost to consumers.

And, according to critics, only 8,500 of those parking spots are currently available.

In a statement, the Ontario Energy Board said that 15,000 of the rechargeable sites would be located at government departments and select community centres.

“To be clear, the OPB’s priorities are to accelerate rapid growth of charging stations, reduce the price of charging stations, and encourage more people to use charging stations,” said a spokesperson.


But with the government expected to soon abandon its cap-and-trade emissions scheme, the Ontario government plans to boost the number of charging stations to 25,000 by 2020.

Another 11,000 plug-in stations are expected to be built by 2021 as part of the provincial government’s effort to phase out gas and diesel vehicles by 2040.

But the Liberals also promise to waive the truck and bus weight tariff on electric vehicles in Ontario.

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