Rebates could help sell EVs, say officials

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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.

Those 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.