Cash incentives the best way to convince Canadians to buy electric cars: Transport Canada

Ottawa – Transport Canada officials have concluded that cash rebates and tax incentives are the best way to convince Canadians to buy electric cars as part of an overall government strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

ChartThose same officials have told Transport Minister Marc Garneau that money set aside in this year’s budget to encourage people to take the electric vehicles for a spin may be going to waste.

The comments from the department’s policy group are in response to a report by Electric Mobility Canada, which made a number of recommendations in March to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles across the country.

The organization also recommends the federal government fund the installation of fast-charging stations as part of a national electric-vehicle highway.

In documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, officials say it’s unlikely that car makers will pay for the stations because they aren’t yet profitable, given how few electric vehicles have been sold in Canada.

There were just over 20,000 plug-in electric cars on the country’s roadways as of May this year, representing fewer than one-third of one per cent of all vehicles sold in Canada, according to Green Car Reports.

Some facts about EV sales in Canada

  • The Chevrolet Volt, made by General Motors, commands the Canadian EV market with roughly 30 per cent market share, followed by the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla S, which has seen the fastest sales growth numbers so far in 2016.
  • If current sales trends continue, there could be 30,000 EVs on the country’s roads by Canada’s 150th birthday next July.
  • By comparison, the US had the largest fleet of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles in the world by June of this year, with roughly 474,000 highway-capable EVs sold since the Tesla Roadster went on the market in 2008.
  • The federal budget introduced in March included $62.5 million over two years to help build the infrastructure needed to support alternative fuel vehicles, including charging stations for electric cars and refuelling stations for vehicles that run on natural gas and hydrogen.

The Canadian Press

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