Ontario is serious about reducing its carbon emissions and wants to encourage its residents to buy an electric car. Its leaders know that doing so will take money. Lots of money. A new incentive program will pay drivers up to $14,000 to buy an electric car. At present, there are only 5,800 electric cars on the road in Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province. “We know we can do better than that,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said Wednesday, according to the Toronto Star.
The goal of the $20-million program is to get people thinking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, which account for 35% of all emissions in the province. “Cars account for more greenhouse gas emissions than the iron, steel, cement and chemical industries combined,” Wynne says.
Under the current incentive plan which went into effect in 2010, electric car buyers are eligible for subsidies of between $5,000 and $8,500, depending on the price of the vehicle. Under the new program, the incentives will increase to between $6,000 and $10,000. If the car costs more than $75,000, the amount is limited to $3,000, on the theory that someone who can afford a car that expensive doesn’t need as much help from the taxpayers.
Wynne says some plug-in hybrid cars will qualify if they are approved by the Ministry of Transport. Also, the total subsidy can rise to as much as $14,000 if an electric car has an extra-large battery and seats at least five people, making it suitable for carpooling. Details about what constitutes an extra large battery have not yet been finalized. If the new Chevy Bolt qualifies for the maximum subsidy, that could make it very attractive to Ontario drivers.
Ontario is aggressively pursuing other methods to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37% below 1990 levels. It will soon announce a cap-and-trade system for industrial carbon emissions. The government is also boosting its funding to build more electric vehicle charging stations by $20 million. Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said electric vehicles can use HOV lane regardless of how many people are riding in them and will be able to use high occupancy toll lanes foe free once they are up and running.
Getting people to transition to zero emissions cars isn’t hard. All it takes is commitment, leadership, and money — three concepts the US Congress is largely unfamiliar with.