Buying an electric car in Canada just became a bit cheaper — but it depends on what vehicle you have your eye on.
When the Liberals released the 2019 federal budget, it included an incentive program for drivers to switch to an electric car. It’s part of the government’s long-term goal to have all gas-powered vehicles off the road by 2040.
The rebates take effect Wednesday and cover a range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, including a version of the popular Tesla 3 model.
Here’s what to know about the incentive program.
How much are the rebates?
The rebates will take up to $5,000 off the cost of electric vehicles, and $2,500 off plug-in hybrids, but they apply only to cars that cost less than $45,000.
However, some $55,000 vehicles will be eligible.
What vehicles are covered under the rebates?
Nine electric cars and 12 plug-in hybrids are eligible under the incentive program, according to the federal government.
Ford Focus Electric
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Hyundai Kona Electric
Kia Niro Electric
Kia Soul Electric
Hybrid vehicle plug-ins
Audi A3 e-Tron
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Ford Fusion Energi
Honda Clarity PHEV
Hyundai Ioniq PHEV
Hyundai Sonata PHEV
Kia Niro PHEV
Kia Optima PHEV
Mini Cooper S E Countryman
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Toyota Prius Prime
Smart Fortwo models are also included in the program, however, the manufacturer recently announced it is discontinuing the model in the U.S. and Canadian markets citing a “declining” market.
How does it work?
The rebate program starts May 1, 2019, meaning only purchases or leases of eligible zero-emission vehicles on or after this date will qualify for the incentive program.
The incentive program applies right when you buy the car and the dealership is responsible for completing the documentation required to receive the rebate, according to the federal government.
Pre-owned zero-emissions vehicles are not eligible.
Does it work with other provincial incentive programs?
The federal rebate works in addition to any provincial zero-emissions vehicles incentive, which is currently only in British Columbia and Quebec.
WATCH: Pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle
Are there any setbacks?
Road transportation accounts for as much as one-fifth of Canada’s emissions and the incentives are part of the federal government’s strategy to have electric cars make up 100 per cent of new vehicles sold in Canada by 2040 (that means Ottawa wants 14-million zero-emission vehicles on the road by then).
By comparison, there are currently 24-million vehicles on the road in Canada.
Right now, electric and hybrid cars make up just two per cent of new vehicles sold in Canada, according to government figures.
The federal incentive applies for plug-in hybrids and not regular hybrids (which are recharged via regenerative braking and when you take your foot off the accelerator and coast). But regular hybrid cars make up the majority of electric cars on the market.
There is also the problem of long-haul travelling in electric cars and a lack of charging stations.
Canada has just 5,800 publicly accessible charging stations and most of them are clustered around cities, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
That compares to 762,000 in the U.S. and over 1.2 million in China. Norway, with a population of five million — a fraction of Canada’s 37 million inhabitants — has 176,000 charging stations.
The federal budget states Canada will spend $130 million over five years to expand the network of recharging and refuelling stations for electric vehicles.
WATCH: The latest and best electric cars you can buy right now
— With files from Global News’ Erica Alini