B.C. slashes electric vehicle subsidy after consumers flock to the program

Click to play video: 'B.C. government electric vehicle incentives lowered' B.C. government electric vehicle incentives lowered
WATCH: The provincial government's incentives and rebates to encourage sales of electric vehicles have been dropped. Aaron McArthur has the details – Jun 24, 2019

The B.C. government is moving to cut the subsidy it offers on electric vehicles in the wake of a surge of consumers cashing in on the incentives.

B.C. had been offering up to $5,000 in incentives on the price of a new fully electric vehicle, while the federal government offers an additional $5,000 incentive.

This weekend, the province announced that it would be cutting its maximum incentive to $3,000 due to the massive popularity of the program. The province says it has received more than 6,000 applications for the subsidy so far.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Road trip range ‘misconceptions’ keeping B.C. drivers hesitant to go electric: BC Hydro

“We’d like to have had more notice,” said Blair Qualey with the New Car Dealer Association of B.C.

WATCH: Savings from driving electric vehicles reaches all-time high

Click to play video: 'Savings from driving electric vehicles reaches all-time high' Savings from driving electric vehicles reaches all-time high
Savings from driving electric vehicles reaches all-time high – May 17, 2019

B.C. has been a Canadian leader in the sale of electric vehicles, second only behind Quebec in 2019.

READ MORE: 12 new electric vehicle fast-charging stations coming to B.C.

According to Electric Mobility Canada, B.C. sales in the first quarter of 2019 nearly doubled from the same period in 2018 from 1,361 vehicles sold to 2,718 vehicles sold.

Story continues below advertisement

The move to cut the incentives comes just months after the province passed legislation requiring all new vehicles sold in B.C. be zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

WATCH: City of Vancouver considers no-gas zones

Click to play video: 'City of Vancouver considers no-gas zones' City of Vancouver considers no-gas zones
City of Vancouver considers no-gas zones – Apr 25, 2019

“It’s great that people are excited about this program,” said Energy Minister Michelle Mungall.

“But we want to be able to maintain that excitement, and that means we have to do what it takes to keep the program growing into the future and we think we’ve done that.”

But the opposition BC Liberals say the government is sending mixed messages.

READ MORE: Legislation introduced to require all new cars sold in B.C. to be zero-emission by 2040

“To say one day that, ‘Hey, we want everybody in an electric vehicle,’ and then just weeks later reduce the subsidy in a significant way, it tells you that this government is just making it up as they go along,” said BC Liberal MLA Jas Johal.

Story continues below advertisement

Under the new changes, vehicles with a price tag of more than $55,000 will be excluded from the rebate — the same cap applied to the federal subsidy.

The province is also freeing up another $26.5 million of already funded cash to top up the fund that pays out the incentives.

Buyers who had already locked in EV purchases prior to June 22 will still be eligible for the full $5,000 incentive.

Sponsored content