Automakers say federal budget not doing enough to hit new electric vehicle targets

OTTAWA – The Canadian auto industry says federal budget programs for electric vehicles and charging stations aren’t enough to reach the government’s ambitious new sales targets.

The Liberals’ new emissions reduction plan changes the goal for electric passenger vehicle sales from 50 per cent to 60 per cent by 2030 and adds a new target to get 20 per cent of sales electric by 2026.

By the end of this year, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault intends to implement a sales mandate with financial penalties for dealerships that don’t hit their targets.

To nudge things along, the 2022 federal budget promises to extend the $5,000 purchase rebate on electric vehicles another three years and adds $900 million in incentives and grants to build more charging stations.

Brian Kingston, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, says the industry was surprised the government upped the ante on sales targets because it’s now out of line with the United States, which is still aiming for 50 per cent by 2030.

Electric vehicle advocates say carmakers aren’t producing electric models fast enough and wait times to buy one are lengthy, but Kingston says the industry needs to be certain the demand will be there as it invests heavily in adjusting its production lines.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2022.

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