Windsor-area association applauds new electric vehicle incentives

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Source: Morrison

Changes made to Ontario’s electric vehicle incentive program could persuade more consumers to leave their gas-powered cars behind, the chair of the Windsor-Essex Electric Vehicle Association has said.

The new regulations, which took effect Jan. 1, remove the 30 per cent incentive cap on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price and the $3,000 cap on fully battery-powered vehicles priced between $75,000 and $150,000.

“Now some of the less expensive electric cars will get a full rebate of up to $14,000,” said WEEVA’s Sean Hart. “What that means is for the less expensive cars, they’re within reach of more people because that initial purchase price has gone down.”

Vehicles with battery capacities between 5 kilowatt hours and 16 kWh have incentives from $6,000 to $10,000 depending on battery size. A vehicle with capacity larger than 16 kWh will earn an additional $3,000. Another $1,000 is provided for cars with five or more seats.

Hybrid vehicles priced between $75,000 and $150,000 have a maximum incentive value of $3,000. Full battery-powered or hybrid vehicles above $150,000 don’t qualify for the program.

Hart said most fully-electric vehicles will fall into the larger battery category and therefore be eligible for the full $14,000.

“The cars that have the smaller batteries are the plug-in hybrids,” he said. “These are part gas hybrid cars that have a plug that you can charge up the battery, but they can also run on gas. The cars that qualify for the full amount, they can drive a lot further on electric.”

For example, two of the most sought-after electric vehicles – the latest versions of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Tesla Model S 60 – both have 60 kWh batteries.

The $150,000 cap also makes sense, said Hart, because these vehicles are usually “high-end sports cars” or “super cars” which use the electric power to supplement the gas performance.

“At that price, it’s not about efficiency as much as it is about performance,” he said.

Hart also pointed out the Windsor-made Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid would be eligible for $14,000 in incentives, which would bring its price close to the vehicle’s gas-powered models.

The Ontario government has a goal to have five per cent of all new passenger vehicles sold or leased be electric- or hydrogen-powered by 2020. Hart said it’s “very possible” they could reach that goal as sales continue to grow and more choices are available.

According to the province, there are currently more than 9,000 electric vehicles registered in Ontario.

The government will conduct another review of the incentive program this fall.