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Ontario’s EV Sales Plunge After Incentives Were Scrapped

Electric vehicle (EV) sales in Canada’s province of Ontario have plummeted after the provincial government canceled a generous rebate for zero-emission vehicles last year.

Due to the scrapped incentive, Ontario is now the only Canadian province that has seen declines in EV sales this year, while all other provinces—led by Quebec and British Columbia—have seen consistent rises in clean vehicles sales.  

EV sales in Ontario plunged by over 55 percent to 2,933 units in the first half of 2019, The Canadian Press reports, citing data from not-for-profit organization Electric Mobility Canada.

So far this year, Ontario has seen huge dives in EV sales, which experts attribute to the new provincial government scrapping last year the rebate on EV purchases, which, apparently, were a large buying incentive.  

Before 2018, Ontario was offering rebates of up to US$10,700 (C$14,000) to buyers of EVs. The new government of Premier Doug Ford, however, eliminated the rebate, citing the reason that such incentive was going to buyers who could already afford purchasing the more expensive electric cars.  

Analysts and commentators say that Ontario’s plunge in electric vehicle sales could prevent Canada from reaching a federal target to have EV hold a 30-percent share in national car sales by 2030.  

‘If Ontario was in the game again it would make the whole thing a lot easier,” Al Cormier of Electric Mobility Canada told The Canadian Press.

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Ontario’s former environmental commissioner, Dianne Saxe, whose job was eliminated by the new provincial government, said of the rebate scrapping that “It’s not just that they haven’t supported building these things up, they’ve actually got in the way of what we were already doing.”  

According to Electric Mobility Canada, Canada’s total EV sales increased by 34.4 percent in Q2 2019, with all provinces except for Ontario showing rising sales. Ontario’s EV sales plunged by 58.7 percent year on year in Q2.  

“The former Ontario Electric Vehicle Incentive Program was more than twice as generous as the new federal incentive, which explains its inability to fully compensate for its withdrawal,” Electric Mobility Canada said.

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In Q3, Ontario again was the only Canadian province with plunging sales, with EV purchases down by 44 percent annually, compared to a 25-percent rise in overall Canadian EV sales.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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