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EV Advice: New rebate won’t help buyers, yet

If you order an EV today, you can avail yourself of a changed federal rebate — but good luck making that purchase.

By Michael Bettencourt Wheels.ca

May 8, 2022 2 min. read

Article was updated 8 days ago

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If you happened to order your Ford Mustang Mach-E, Polestar 2 or Audi Q4 e-Tron in 2021 and received delivery of it after April 25 of this year, then congratulations. You are one of the fortunate new buyers who can take advantage of the new federal EV rebate.

If you bought or received it before, then you are out of luck. This latest round of federal government changes, which took effect in late April, increased the rebate price cap on EV purchases from $45,000 to $55,000 for cars, and $60,000 for all-electric or long-range PHEV minivans, pickups or sport-utility vehicles – including those mentioned above. Buyers of those vehicles who pre-ordered and then picked up their cars once the increase was in place will receive a $5,000 discount.

But the reality is that most new electric vehicles available today, aren’t available today. They were all pre-ordered many months ago.

“For most vehicles it’s six months to three years (wait),” said Daniel Breton, the CEO of industry group Electric Mobility Canada. This has pushed many folks who want to buy a new EV into the used market, pushing up their prices.

There was hope a national used EV rebate – like those in Quebec and British Columbia – would be announced by the federal government in its recent budget, but it was not included.

“We were expecting a federal rebate for used EVs because it was part of the mandate letters,” said Breton, about the yearly public mandates issued to government ministers by the prime minister. “It’s been part of the mandate letters for two or three years, so we’ve been really surprised not to see any used EV rebates.”

When you look at the base price of EVs in the U.S., their costs, even with the exchange rate, are generally higher than in Canada, which start just under $45,000 for some manufacturer’s base models. But there are concerns a wave of price increases is coming.

Breton said that even though most manufacturers have a model under $45,000, “97 per cent of the vehicles (actually) sold would be more expensive models.”

So, while the new rebate cap can be used on more vehicles, which is a good for EVs overall, the new changes won’t help many new buyers for some time.

Michael Bettencourt bought his first EV in late 2011 and has followed the Canadian EV scene ever since. Follow him on Twitter @MCBet10court

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