Canada extends electric vehicle rebate, but few cars available for BC buyers

Canada’s federal government announced it would extend an incentive plan for electric vehicles earlier this week, but for many would-be buyers, actually getting their hands on an EV remains nearly impossible.

As a part of its 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, Ottawa has earmarked another $1.7 billion to incentivize the sale of zero-emission vehicles, topping up the federal program that rebates up to $5,000 for cars valued at under $45,000.

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That’s cold comfort to Greg Morris in Penticton, BC, who has been told he’ll have to wait about a year before a manufacturer can actually get him one.

“It’s nice they are giving us some increased incentives to buy electric vehicles — the unfortunate part is the lack of availability,” he told Global News.

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“There’s virtually no new ones available, more or less, and the used car market is such that even used electric vehicles are getting hard to find as well. So it’s nice but I’m not sure how many people are going to be able to take advantage of it.”

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Morris is among thousands of British Columbians seeking to purchase an electric vehicle.

In fact, he’s so motivated he’s put deposits on two different cars, and said he’ll buy the first one that’s actually available.

Right now, he’s about 2,700th in line for a Hyundai IONIQ 5, and has put a second deposit on a Kia EV6.

A December report to Transport Canada from clean energy consultants Dunsky found a majority of Canadian dealerships had no stock of zero-emission vehicles.

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Industry experts have cited a variety of factors driving the long wait times for an EV, including supply chain disruption and a global shortage of semiconductors.

Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association spokesperson John Stonier said the tight market has also meant the few EVs making it to the used market are snapped up quickly, with prices rising.

“Getting your place in line is pretty well all you can do right now,” he said.

For those languishing on a waiting list, or still pondering whether or not to buy, Stonier recommended using the time to advocate for charging infrastructure where they live.

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Provincial incentives to offset the cost of installing charging equipment, he said, could help make the argument more persuasive to stratas and landlords.

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“Not only to be EV ready, but that will increase your real estate values ​​simply because people who are looking to buy condos or rent apartments are looking for places that have charging readily available,” he said.

Tuesday’s federal emission reduction plan update also included $400 million to fund more EV charging stations, along with a half-billion dollar investment from the Canada Infrastructure Bank into EV charging infrastructure.

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It also mandates that 100 per cent of new light duty vehicles sold in Canada be zero-emission, however British Columbia has already legislated that target be met in the province by 2030.

In its provincial budget last month, the province also scrapped PST for zero-emission vehicles.

Back in Penticton, Morris remains hopeful the rubber will hit the road before next spring.

“I understand Hyundai is kind of under promising. They’re saying it will be a year and they show up in nine months and everyone is really happy because the car is three months early,” he said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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