PEI’s announcement includes $5,000 incentive for the purchase of a new or used electric vehicle, the most generous used EV incentive in Canada, and follows moves to electrify public fleets in the province
For the second time in a month, the Prince Edward Island government has released details about its plan to encourage more Islanders to transition to electric vehicles — today unveiling a $5,000 rebate for both new and used EV purchases and a free home charger. This makes PEI’s the most generous used-EV purchase rebate in Canada; it’s also the only province to supply a complimentary charging unit. There is also a $2,500 rebate for hybrid vehicles.
The rebate program is part of a $1.9-million line item in PEI’s 2021-22 operating budget. That document, unveiled last week, indicated the PEI government is allocating $500,000 to establish a provincial rebate program and also finance a $1.4-million grant program to help businesses with the costs of installing EV chargers. Today’s announcement from the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action offered specifics for the first time on how the rebates would apply.
“It’s a very generous program to put together. It’s definitely going to set the tone for EVs going forward,” says Mike Kenny, vice-president operations and purchasing at All EV Canada – a retailer, service centre and educator on EVs in Atlantic Canada. “The act of the government is showing a little bit of something in the way of supporting a transition to a different kind of personal transport. They are putting their money where their mouth is, literally: ‘We want you to drive an electric vehicle’ is the message — so much so that [they] are going to help you pay for it. This is going to be a game changer, for sure.”
PEI is now the fourth province in Canada to be running an active rebate program and two territories – Yukon and Northwest Territories – offer rebates as well. PEI is also the third province to offer a rebate for used EV purchases, following Nova Scotia and Quebec, and it already offers free EV registration, which carries $100 in savings annually. When combined with the federal incentive of $5,000, islanders can get up to $10,000 off the price of a new electric vehicle.
Suite of initiatives
The most recent statistics from PEI indicate there were 99 plug-in electric vehicles registered in the province as of October 2020; 862 hybrids and 58 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Statistics Canada estimated PEI’s population to be 159,713 in the same month. While adoption rates in the province are far from high, the province is harnessing several proven adoption-boosting strategies to encourage a pivot.
In addition to the rebate, PEI announced last month that a $250,000 investment from Natural Resources Canada and additional funding from the provincial government and the island’s main utility will fund 50 Level 2 public chargers. Total funding for that project from the three bodies will top $590,000. The chargers will be distributed through nine communities and effectively establish a public charging network spanning the island. There will also be funding available for electric education programs for consumers looking to transition.
“We are excited to continue to build our charging network,” said Steven Myers, PEI’s minister of environment, energy and climate action in a press release about the charger funding announcement. “We want Islanders to consider and transition to electric vehicles. In order for them to do so, we need to continue to build the infrastructure so they feel confident driving where they need to go.”
The budget goes on to describe an additional $250,000 Clean Tech Challenge fund to “help Islanders develop and advance ideas to contribute to a clean technology sector in PEI.”
All EV Canada has already applied for funding under this program. “That gave us some funding to travel around to some of the rural areas and offer free public courses with the vehicles,” says Kenny. “[People] can ask questions, they can test drive…it’s like a mobile classroom set up where we can come to them and that’s going to help a lot, I believe.”
PEI fleet getting a green makeover
In addition to the welcome news of an EV rebate, there are some developments with the island’s fleets that are showing promise for a greener future.
In November 2020, the PEI government announced it would be replacing 12 diesel school buses with 12 electric buses supplied by Quebec-based manufacturer, Lion Electric Co., and a dozen charging stations for $4.8 million dollars. Experts estimate one electric school bus reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 23 tonnes, meaning with their new electric fleet PEI could be cutting 276 tonnes of GHG emissions and is equivalent to taking 60 internal combustion engine passenger vehicles off the road.
And since 2019 the province has been purchasing passenger EVs for its staff in a slow transition of cars for government officials.
“Prince Edward Island is establishing itself as a mecca for innovative, sustainable, low-carbon solutions,” said Catherine McKenna, minister of infrastructure and communities in a press release at the time.
Added PEI’s premier Dennis King: “It is important that we lead by example and continue to put a climate lens on the decisions and investments we make as we look to create a more sustainable and climate resilient Prince Edward Island. Clean transportation is critical to addressing climate change.”