Feds ponder more electric vehicle rebates at the expense of taxpayers

In 2019, Cabinet introduced rebates of up to $5,000, with roughly 185,000 rebates paid to buyers as of writing. However, no federal agency to date has confirmed the total costs of their electric vehicle mandate.

Feds ponder more electric vehicle rebates at the expense of taxpayers
Facebook / Justin Trudeau and François-Philippe Champagne
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Transport Canada continues its 'Green Reset' crusade by incentivizing taxpayers to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) with their tax dollars.

According to Blacklock's Reporter, the transport department is reviewing the "need for adjustments" to $5,000 rebates for EV buyers.

"Transport Canada will continue to monitor zero emission vehicle results and assess the need for adjustments to the program to ensure it meets its objectives," said the briefing note, Incentives For Zero Emission Vehicles Program.

Cabinet 2019 introduced rebates of up to $5,000, with roughly 185,000 rebates paid to buyers as of writing. 

"Most participants were aware of the Government of Canada's target to make all new cars sold in Canada zero-emission vehicles by 2035," said a pollsters' report. "While some strongly supported this commitment regarding its impact on the environment, several were concerned."

With the program set to expire in 2025 at a budgeted cost of $1.7 billion, Canadians appear divided on whether it should continue.

"Several worried about the cost of a zero-emission vehicle presuming it could be prohibitive for many consumers," said the report Continuous Qualitative Data Collection Of Canadians' Views. "Others opposed government intervention in the marketplace, especially if it resulted in reduced consumer choice."

On December 21, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault proposed that one-fifth of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada be electric by 2026. 

Parliament outlined an ambitious target of 6 million more zero-emission passenger vehicles by the decade's end. Annual vehicle sales before COVID amounted to under 2 million units, with the total stock in Canada at about 23 million.

In the first half of 2022, fully-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales accounted for 7.2% of new car registrations, up from 5.2% in 2021. 

Statistics Canada, in a July 21, 2022 report, New Motor Vehicle Registrations, confirmed that 59% of plug-in electrics and hybrid vehicles were registered in Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal.

In a 2020 submission to the Commons environment committee, the transport department confirmed that B.C. and Québec accounted for most sales, owing to their electric rebates of $4,000 and $7,000 per vehicle, respectively.

According to Blacklock's Reporter, EVs now account for 5% of all passenger vehicles on the road. 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) firmly denounced the subsidy: "The feds are not flush with cash."

"They're massively in debt, and this is an expensive program that should be cancelled," said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF.

Until 2018, Ontario offered rebates of up to $14,000 for every new EV until they cancelled their program, citing costs.

"It's not fair to ask struggling taxpayers who can barely afford to make ends meet to pick up the tab so other Canadians can cruise around in electric vehicles," said Terrazzano.

"If the government wants to help Canadians, it should leave more money in everyone's pockets by cutting taxes across the board."

By 2030, Guilbeault hopes 60% of all vehicular sales will be EVs and, by 2035, every passenger vehicle. However, the number of Canadians considering an electric car has decreased from 47% to 34%.

According to a recent study, interest in electric vehicles is waning in Canada, owing to declining performance in the frigid cold and the potential fire hazards for drivers.

The Canada Electric Vehicle Consideration Study pegs that two-thirds (66%) of Canadians are either "very unlikely" or "somewhat unlikely" to purchase an electric car as their next vehicle — up 13% from last year. 

In February, Seattle-based Recurrent measured range loss in 7,000 EVs at temperatures between -7°C and -1°C. They learned the Volkswagen (VW) ID.4 lost 30% of its battery at those temperatures.

In addition, EVs may pose a fire hazard owing to their lithium batteries.

"Despite current legislation pushing hard for EV adoption, consumers in Canada are still not sold on the idea of automotive electrification," said J.D. Ney, automotive practice director for J.D. Power Canada.

According to J.D. Power, 63% expressed concerns with range, while 59% were concerned with price. Another 55% voiced their issues with limited charging stations.

"Growing concerns about affordability and infrastructure [both from charging and electrical grid perspectives] have caused a significant decline in the number of consumers who see themselves in the market for an EV anytime soon."

No federal agency to date has confirmed the total costs of the EV mandate, reported Blacklock's Reporter.

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