Making electric vehicles purchased off-Island eligible for rebates helps increase their use in P.E.I.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Recent changes to P.E.I.’s electric vehicle (EV) incentives will make it easier and cheaper for residents to purchase off-Island vehicles and charge their vehicles at home.

EVs purchased at off-Island dealerships are now eligible for P.E.I.’s Universal Electric Vehicle Incentive, the provincial government announced in a statement on March 2.

Used vehicles with a sticker price of up to $70,000 are now eligible for rebates, up from the previous amount of $55,000. The incentive has also expanded to include additional new and used vehicles, as well as EVs from Upcycle Green Technologies in Stratford.

“It’s great for us,” owner Natal Antonini told SaltWire Network during an interview on March 9. “It is hard for us to compete with the big factories anyway, and without incentives it is impossible.”

Upcycle’s business model consists of converting used Toyota Corollas made in the early 2000s to electrically powered mini pick-up trucks.

The process of converting the vehicles is costly, leading to a hefty price tag when sold. Having his company included in the incentive is crucial for business to continue.

Source: Statistics Canada

“We know that it’s been challenging to find an electric vehicle to buy in P.E.I.,” Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers said in the news release announcing the incentive.

“These changes are an important step to expanding the use of electric vehicles in our province.”

Vehicles purchased in P.E.I. from a registered dealer will continue to receive the rebate at the point of sale. For vehicles purchased outside of the province, the public can apply for the incentive when registering the vehicle at an Access P.E.I. location.

Antonini said he would still like to see more education and more incentives offered to P.E.I. residents, as EVs are a key component in reducing the province’s carbon emissions.

“There is still a lot of concerns on how to charge the cars, how safe are the cars and concerns about range,” he said.

“I think if the government really wants to meet the net-zero goal, they need to give these incentives to people to really start using electric cars. For us, it’s completely essential to keep the business going.”

EVs have been in high demand in the province for the past two years. In 2019, just over 100 electric vehicles were registered in P.E.I. As of 2023, the number has grown to more than 700 vehicles.

With the demand for EVs comes the demand for chargers.

Previously, a free charger was shipped to EV owners who applied for the incentives. The March 2 release announced that $750 will now go towards either the installation of the owner’s preferred charger or charging expenses for those unable to install a charger.

The release also notes that the total provincial incentive amount is now $5,750 for eligible EVs and $3,250 for plug-in hybrids.

Rafe Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian