June 24, 2019 10:41 pm
Updated: June 25, 2019 2:34 am

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

WATCH: The provincial government's incentives and rebates to encourage sales of electric vehicles have been dropped. Aaron McArthur has the details.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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.

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“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.

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.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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