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Manitoba rolls out EV rebate of up to $4,000 in 2024 provincial budget

Used electric vehicles and hybrids up to four years old can receive a rebate up to $2,500. (Courtesy of Edmunds via AP)
Used electric vehicles and hybrids up to four years old can receive a rebate up to $2,500. (Courtesy of Edmunds via AP) (AP Third Party)

The Manitoba government has rolled out an electric vehicle rebate worth up to $4,000 in its spring budget. The measure aims to improve affordability in a province where non-fossil fuel cars and trucks have little traction with consumers.

Minister of Finance Adrien Sala tabled the province’s 2024 budget on Tuesday. It introduces a rebate of up to $4,000 on new battery-electric vehicle (EV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) purchased between Aug. 1, 2023 and March 31, 2026. Used vehicles up to four years old can receive a rebate of up to $2,500. The maximum purchase price is $70,000.

The province says the incentive will be provided after registration with Manitoba Public Insurance. It’s limited to one use per owner and vehicle.

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“Many Manitoba families want to make the switch to an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for their family vehicle, but the sticker shock can make this an unrealistic dream,” the budget read.

Ottawa wants 100 per cent of new light-duty sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. The federal government offers rebates of up to $5,000 for Canadians who buy or lease eligible cars and trucks.

According to Statistics Canada, zero-emission vehicles achieved a 12 per cent market share in the fourth quarter of 2023. Quebec and British Columbia were the strongest markets, with a 21 per cent share in each province. In Manitoba, zero-emission vehicles made up 3.5 per cent of new car and truck sales in the quarter, edging out Saskatchewan at two per cent.

The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association, a lobby group representing the Detroit Three automakers in Canada, praised Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew for addressing EV affordability.

His province joins several others offering purchase incentives. These include New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island. Ontario dropped its rebate program in 2018, a move that set back adoption, according to critics.

Last month, Quebec announced it will end its subsidy program worth up to $7,000 by 2027. The provincial government said in its latest budget that Quebec's EV market is “maturing” due to strong consumer interest, and prices becoming more competitive with internal combustion vehicles.

EY Canada director of energy transition Dan Guatto told Yahoo Finance Canada in December that “very heavy” financial incentives are needed for at least five years to spur the growth needed to hit Ottawa’s 2035 target.

However, he predicts such policies will be less important in the future.

“Incentives matter, particularly early on,” Guatto said. “But I think we’re approaching the point where they’re not really going to matter as much as the cost of owning and operating an EV as people learn that, and the way they fit into our lives.”

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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