An electric car charging. (Black Press Media files)

Buying an electric car becomes cheaper today as federal rebates kick in

OTTAWA — Federal rebates to encourage Canadians to buy electric cars take effect today.

The rebates, announced in the last Liberal budget, will take up to $5,000 off the cost of electric vehicles, and $2,500 off plug-in hybrids, but they apply only to cars that cost less than $45,000.

Ottawa is raising that to $55,000 to increase the options a buyer can choose and still receive the rebate, but the price limit means the most popular electric car in Canada — the Tesla Model 3 — is not going to qualify.

Nine electric cars and 13 plug-in hybrids are eligible, including the second- and third-most popular electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt.

Electric-car experts say there is no doubt government incentives help drive electric-car purchases, noting when the new conservative government in Ontario killed a $14,000 rebate last year, electric-car sales in that province plummeted.

Road transportation accounts for as much as one-fifth of Canada’s emissions and the incentives are part of the federal government’s strategy to meet its international targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to halt climate change.

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