CEVforBC fund ran out of money on Wednesday. On Thursday the province topped it up with $10 million
You’ve heard of range anxiety. How about rebate anxiety? Two days ago, on May 15, the B.C. electric vehicle rebate program’s cupboard was bare.
“We ran out of money,” said Blair Qualey, president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of British Columbia, the group that manages the CEVforBC rebate program.
That was on Wednesday and on Thursday the province recharged the EV incentive program with a $10 million infusion.
“We’ve been talking with government since May 1 encouraging them to be prepared to move money quickly,” Qualey explained, adding he was pleased by Victoria’s prompt action. “You can never really exactly gauge what day (we’d run out of money), but we guesstimated Wednesday of this week and as it turned out we were right on.”
On May 1 there was $6.5 million in the fund, two weeks later it was empty. Qualey says the average grant is in the $4,700 range, meaning well over 1,000 new vehicles have been purchased through the program.
A perfect storm of the federal incentive program kicking in on May 1, record-setting high gas prices in B.C., and an increasing number of new EV models coming to Canadian showrooms are credited with surge.
When the federal incentive program was first announced in April, EV sales across the country essentially stopped as consumers waited for that funding to take affect, Qualey explained.
“Between then and May 1, everybody was sitting on their hands waiting. People were still putting deposits down for EVs but were waiting until May 1 so they could get the federal grant,” he said. “So there was this huge bubble of demand building and building, so that when May 1 came there was a huge rush.”
The B.C. government allocated $42 million to the CEVforBC program in their annual budget announcement back in February, meaning there is still $32 million available.
“I think things will slow down a little bit as we’re through that initial bubble, but people are paying attention to this, and gas prices are certainly hurting people’s pocketbooks these days,” said Qualey, adding that he’s been getting calls from dealer principals in the past couple of weeks saying 80 per cent of their recent sales have been EVs.