Perhaps the quickest way to get more buyers into electric cars would be to make them cheaper. And now a Canadian non-profit aims to do that, by applying an incentive to the most affordable cars—used cars.
Ontario-based Plug'n Drive announced last week that it will offer a rebate of 1,099 Canadian dollars (US$747) on the purchase of a qualifying used electric car to Ontario residents.
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To get that rebate, though, buyers have several hoops to jump through.
- First, they have to show up at Plug'n Drive's North York, Ontario, Electric Vehicle Discovery Center and test drive one of Plug'n Drive's EVs. The Discovery Center has nine electric and plug-in hybrid cars to test, including an Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, a BMW i3, Ford Fusion Energi, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Smart Fortwo Electric Drive coupe, VW e-Golf, and both a Chevrolet Bolt EV and Volt plug-in hybrid.
- Then buyers have to attend an "EV 101" seminar on the benefits of electric driving and what to watch for when buying a used EV (such as battery depletion)
- And finally, within a year of taking the seminar, they have to provide proof of ownership and insurance on an EV to Plug'n Drive before they can get a check.
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Any used electric car up to CA$50,000 (US$37,000) qualifies for the rebate, which means buyers can shop for a used Tesla Model S, for example.
Plug'n Drive is working with the Toronto-based Clean Air Partnership, which has several projects to clean up cities in Ontario.
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"By enabling more drivers to make the switch to an electric car, this incentive will help drivers contribute to cleaner, healthier and more sustainable communities," said Gabriella Kalapos, the executive director of the Clean Air Partnership, in a statement.
While incentivizing more sales of used electrics won't get more EVs on the road, it could help prop up resale values, making new EVs a more attractive financial proposition to new-car buyers. And it could introduce a whole new slice of the population to EVs sooner.