Electric vehicles (EVs) have potential to drastically lower greenhouse gas emissions, and with fuel prices hitting record highs across Ontario, their appeal to consumers is only increasing.
But while Clean Energy Canada estimates that the average cost of an electric vehicle over its lifetime is more than $10,000 cheaper than the gas equivalent, the higher up-front costs of EVs mean they’re still out of reach for many Ontarians.
The cost of a new EV in Canada is between $32,000 and $160,000, according to Scotiabank. The availability of charging infrastructure for the vehicles is a question mark. The City of Toronto, for example, wants to have 3,200 charging stations in the city within the next three years, but so far has only 864.
All four major Ontario political parties talk at length about EVs in their election campaign platforms. Here’s what they say they’ll do on the file.
The Progressive Conservatives scrapped provincial rebates for EV and charging station purchases when they formed government after the 2018 election.
PC Leader Doug Ford has given no indication that the party would revive the program if elected. Instead, the PCs have emphasized their plan to make Ontario an electric vehicle manufacturing hub.
“Over the past 18 months, the automotive sector in Ontario has seen more than $12 billion in investments for new vehicle production mandates and battery manufacturing,” the PCs’ pre-election budget says.
Among the investments are a deal with Stellantis and LG Energy to build electric batteries in Windsor, as well as a deal with Ford Motor Company to build EVs at its Oakville assembly plant. The PC government was also part of a deal with General Motors to upgrade plants in Oshawa and Ingersoll.
The Liberals are proposing a rebate on EV purchases of up to $8,000, which would be available on top of the federal rebate of $5,000. They’ll also offer a rebate of up to $1,500 for the cost of charging stations.
The vehicle rebate would only apply to purchases of up to $65,000.
The party says it would mandate that 60 per cent of all new passenger vehicles sold in Ontario be zero-emission by 2030, increasing to all vehicles by 2035.
The Liberals also say they want to implement mandates for industry vehicles, but their platform does not offer any numbers or dates on that front.
“It’s not enough to help families drive cars that don’t pollute. We’ll work with industry and partners to create zero-emission vehicle mandates for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, like shipping trucks,” the platform says.
The party would require that all public sector vehicles purchased be zero emissions.
Like the other parties, the Liberals say they would make Ontario a manufacturing hub for electric vehicles and batteries.
“Our plan will make Ontario a leader in electric vehicle production — leveraging our automotive supply chain with the United States to ensure Ontario’s EV manufacturing sector is globally competitive,” the party’s platform says.
The New Democrats are proposing a rebate of up to $10,000 for zero emission vehicles, excluding luxury vehicles.
The party says the rebate would have a “particular focus on [vehicles] made in Ontario,” but doesn’t elaborate further.
“Doug Ford cancelled important incentives for electric vehicles, dragging Ontario backwards and costing taxpayers money,” the platform says.
The party says it would create a “Comprehensive Zero Emissions Vehicles Strategy” with a goal of 100 per cent electric vehicle sales by 2035. The plan also includes transitioning the provincial government’s vehicle fleet to all-electric by 2030.
The NDP also says it wants to attract investment in EV manufacturing to Ontario.
“We’ll focus on putting Ontario’s highly skilled and experienced auto workers back to work, with jobs that are stable and unionized,” the platform says.
Unsurprisingly, the Green Party says it has big ideas when it comes to zero emission vehicles.
The party will offer cash incentives of up to $10,000 for EV purchases and up to $1,000 for electric bikes or used EVs.
The party also wants to phase out the sale of new gas- and diesel-fuelled passenger vehicles, light-duty and medium-duty trucks, and buses by 2030.
The Greens say they would aim to phase out the sale of all gasoline and diesel vehicles in Ontario by 2045.
The Green campaign platform includes a promise to establish an “EV technology innovation fund,” which it says will “Scale up EV innovation and production.” The fund would cost $5 billion over the next four years, according to the platform’s costing.
Further, the Greens want to amend the building code to require that all buildings have electric vehicle charging equipment, and to increase the number of charging stations at rest stops on 400-series highways.
Also by next year, the party would implement a requirement for all new and resurfaced parking lots to install EV chargers. The Greens say they would work to ensure EV charging equipment is available at 75 per cent of existing parking lots and garages by 2035.
The Greens would also introduce a tax incentive for businesses to install charging infrastructure, but their platform doesn’t provide further details.
Electrifying public transit is also a priority for the party.
Looking for more details about the platforms of the four major parties in this June’s Ontario election? Head to this story where you can read the platforms for youself.
You can also use Vote Compass to compare your political views to those of the major parties.