Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Electric Vehicle Advocates Looking for Signal of Support in Federal Budget

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Electric Vehicle Advocates Looking for Signal of Support in Federal Budget

Article excerpt

Ottawa to unveil e-vehicle strategy in 2018

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MONTREAL - Electric car advocates are hoping to get a signal in next week's federal budget that the government is prepared to support sales across the country even as Ontario overtook Quebec for selling the most electric vehicles last year.

Cara Clairman, CEO of electric vehicle advocacy group Plug'n Drive, says Transport Minister Marc Garneau has received a wide range of recommendations from an advisory committee, including the adoption of national financial incentives.

"If they put some money aside then we know for sure these things are going to happen," she said in an interview. "With no money it's a little bit more challenging."

Electric Mobility Canada has recommended that Ottawa eliminate the GST on electric vehicle sales, which it estimates will cost about $50 million a year.

"We are waiting impatiently for the budget and for a strategy that will be announced this year," Guimont added.

Delphine Denis, a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Marc Garneau, declined to indicate if any such measures will be unveiled in the budget.

With transportation accounting for about 24 per cent of Canada's emissions, she said the government's zero emission vehicle strategy to be unveiled this year will help accelerate commercialization and support efforts to bring new technologies to market.

According to data compiled by Fleet Carma, 7,477 battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were sold in Canada's most populous province.

That compared with 7,194 sold in Quebec, followed by 3,270 in British Columbia. The other provinces lagged far behind.

Guimont said more generous Ontario rebates and the installation of more charging stations at work are helping the province to catch up.

"Quebec is pretty stable but in Ontario the financial incentives of $14,000 are making a big difference," she said in an interview.

Ontario's sales increased 120 per cent from 2016, when increased rebates were implemented. Quebec's sales were up 44 per cent. …

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