Sales of electric vehicles in Ontario have plummeted since the Progressive Conservative government cancelled a rebate last year.
In the first six months of this year, sales in Ontario were down more than 55 per cent from the same period in 2018, according to data from Electric Mobility Canada. In the second quarter of this year 2,933 electric vehicles were sold in the province, down from 7,110 in the same period last year.
Quebec and British Columbia, which have their own provincial rebates, have long been leading in total sales. Ontario’s figures had been increasing on par with theirs until the province’s financial incentive disappeared.
Under the previous Liberal government, Ontario had offered up to $14,000 back for buyers of electric vehicles, but Premier Doug Ford’s government cancelled it after winning the June 2018 election, saying it was going to people who could already afford expensive cars.
Shortly after that, Ontario’s sales sharply dropped — and national sales did, too.
They rebounded after the introduction this spring of a $5,000 federal rebate, but national sales of electric vehicles are still only at 3.5 per cent, which is a far cry from the federal government’s target of 10 per cent in 2025.
A 2017 survey of about 1,200 drivers in the Greater Toronto Area found that price was a larger barrier to people purchasing electric vehicles than range anxiety — people’s worry that their electric vehicle will run out of power before reaching their destination.
In Ontario, the former government had put $20 million toward installing a network of 500 charging stations across the province. Nearly 350 of them were ultimately put into service, and the current government has not built any more. Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, actually removed some earlier this year.
Private companies such as Petro-Canada are stepping in to build charging stations and there are now roughly 1,400 public chargers in Ontario, according to federal and provincial data. -CINEWS