Sales of electric vehicles will drop in Ontario because of the provincial government’s decision to end the rebate program, but the market for such vehicles will survive and thrive in the long run, an industry expert says.
Cara Clairman, CEO of Plug ‘n Drive, which promotes the use of electric vehicles and has 11 different models at its centre in North York, said there will probably be an initial dip in sales.
“That would be natural,” she told Automotive News Canada last week at an event sponsored by Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada to promote its 2018 Outlander PHEV. “It would be unnatural to think that we won’t.”
Clairman says a “pipeline” of used electric vehicles leased in Ontario will now be available at reasonable costs, so that should create consumer interest.
“The message we want to say in the industry is: ‘This isn’t over,’” she said. “People can still buy an EV.
“You hear people say ‘I can’t afford it.’ That’s not the case. Maybe they will choose a different model than they would have chosen [before the rebate cancellation], maybe a less expensive model or maybe they will choose used, but it still can be done.”
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Director of Marketing Steve Carter is also confident EVs will overcome the end of rebates. Carter said from a corporate perspective, Mitsubishi has made a strong commitment to EVs as part of its products.
“Clearly this is the way the industry is going and it’s about educating the consumers to what the benefits are [even without the rebate],” he said. “That’s great for initially getting those early adopters – those innovators that are interested in buying the latest and the greatest – but as we move from that into a product perspective it’s now about educating them outside of the incentives,” Carter said.
Clairman called EV sales “a worldwide phenomenon.”
“Whatever is happening here in Ontario, in the scheme of things it will be a small impact. Obviously it impacts us [in the Ontario EV industry], but China is going all EV, so is Europe, so it’s going to happen,” Chariman said. “It’s just now we’re maybe going to slow down a little bit here.”