Canadian auto industry reacts negatively to BC Government’s decision to lower rebates on electric vehicles

Tesla Cybertruck. Photo courtesy Vancouver International Auto Show.

Canadian automotive industry groups have expressed concern over the Government of British Columbia’s decision on June 18, 2024, to remove roughly 75 per cent of vehicles that had been eligible for a CleanBC Go Electric rebate of up to $4,000 by changing the program criteria. This change immediately makes purchasing a Zero-Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) more expensive in the province.


According to the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA), the provision of only a 30-day transition period will leave consumers who may have already purchased a vehicle and are awaiting delivery entirely in the lurch.


“We are astonished and extremely disappointed by the announced changes to BC’s ZEV rebate program,” said Tim Reuss, president & CEO, Canadian Automobile Dealers Association. “Not only was this change decided in great haste and without any consultation with the industry, but it contradicts the province’s own ZEV ambitions. Excluding 75 per cent of vehicles that had previously qualified for the purchase incentives when price is one of the major hurdles for consumers to adopt ZEVs, makes absolutely no sense. We strongly urge the BC government to reconsider this change and to immediately engage in consultation with the entire industry on how best to proceed.”


Additionally, according to the Canadian Vehicle Manufactures Association, the government’s change in how the program defines SUV, with SUVs and station wagons moved from the ‘larger’ vehicle (with higher MSRP threshold) to the ‘cars’ category (with a new lowered MSRP of $50,000), is expected to reduce access to the most popular vehicle class for British Columbians and place a chill on the demand for ZEVs in the province. 


“British Columbia has the most aggressive ZEV targets in North America at 90 per cent ZEV sales by 2030,” said Brian Kingston, president and CEO Canadian Vehicle Manufactures Association. “[The] announcement to further weaken the ZEV purchase incentive all but guarantees the government’s mandated targets will not be met, with serious negative consequences for consumers, industry, and the provincial economy.”


According to David Adams, president and CEO of Global Automakers of Canada, now is not the time to cut back on the electric vehicle rebate program. 


“We’ve never suggested incentives should be in place forever, but they need to be in place until price parity with ICE vehicles is achieved—and we are not close to that,” said David Adams, president & CEO, Global Automakers of Canada.  “The changes undermine the government’s Go Electric program and make it that much harder for British Columbians who want to go electric to make the switch and make a difficult challenge essentially insurmountable for automakers to meet 90 per cent ZEV sales by 2030.”

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