Advocates hope Ottawa expands, renews electric car rebate program

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OTTAWA — Electric car advocates are pushing Ottawa to put more money into its zero-emission vehicle rebate program and expand it to include used cars in the next federal budget.

Transport Canada officials say 75 per cent of the $300-million program has already been spoken for, just 15 months into its three-year mandate.

The rebate now provides up to $5,000 off the purchase or lease of many new fully electric or hybrid-electric vehicles in a bid to help even out of the price difference between them and traditional, gas-powered models.

Electric Mobility Canada wants Ottawa to expand the program to include used cars and to increase the maximum purchase price of the cars that qualify for a rebate as more expensive SUVs and pick-up trucks are set to start coming onto the market.

Cara Clairman, CEO of the non-profit advocacy group Plug’n Drive, says she hopes Ottawa will provide more money for rebates when the current allotment runs out because they are making a difference.

Electric vehicle sales now amount to about four per cent of all passenger vehicles sold, up from about two per cent in 2018.