Good news arrived this week for drivers in British Columbia looking to make the switch to electric. In an effort to make EVs more affordable, the BC government just announced improvements to its EV rebate program.
The BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation released a statement this week, highlighting that the maximum provincial rebate for battery-electric, fuel-cell electric and long-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles has been increased from $3,000 to $4,000. According to the statement, the maximum rebate for lower-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles increases to $2,000 from the previous maximum of $1,500.
As for eligibility, the rebate will be granted based on income levels. To qualify for the maximum rebate, an individual can make up to $80,000, or have a combined household income of $125,000. Those individuals and households with higher incomes will be awarded their rebate amount according to a sliding scale, and those with a personal income above $100,000, or households with incomes above $165,000, are no longer eligible. The price cap for the rebate program remains at a maximum of $55,000 for compact and full-sized cars; however, the Ministry noted that a second category is being added to support those requiring larger EVs, with the cap for those vehicles set at a maximum retail price of $70,000.
The Ministry notes that, according to 2020 income tax returns, more than 90 per cent of BC residents are eligible for an EV rebate. This rebate, combined with federal incentives, can save BC residents as much as $9,000 on the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle.
The president of the New Car Dealers Association of BC, Blair Qualey, says the revised rebates are a positive step that will make zero-emission vehicles more affordable for lower-income individuals. “While we can appreciate that government always faces the difficult position of trying to manage program spending and budgets, we will be watching how changes for higher-income participants may impact (zero-emission vehicle) uptake,” Qualey shared in a statement.
To sweeten the deal, BC has also made EVs exempt from provincial sales tax.