First NDP Manitoba budget makes good on campaign promise for EV rebate
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EV Incentives & Funding
Apr 3, 2024
Mehanaz Yakub

A rebate for new and used EVs — up to $4,000 and $2,500, respectively — is a key budget element as the Manitoba seeks increasing adoption

The 2024 budget unveiled by the Manitoba government this week has introduced a new provincial purchase rebate for electric vehicles.

A rebate for new and used EVs — up to $4,000 and $2,500, respectively — is a key budget element as the Manitoba seeks increasing adoption

The 2024 budget unveiled by the Manitoba NDP government this week is giving prospective EV buyers a long-awaited benefit: a provincial purchase rebate for electric vehicles.

Manitoba drivers looking to transition to an EV or plug-in hybrid may receive up to $4,000 for a new vehicle and $2,500 for a used one in the province. To qualify for the program, the vehicle’s cost must not exceed $70,000 and should be no older than four years.

“Budget 2024 advances our government’s commitment to achieving net-zero targets by 2050,” reads the Manitoba government’s budget report. “Many Manitoba families want to make the switch to an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) for their family vehicle, but the sticker shock can make this an unrealistic dream.”

The new rebate program will alleviate some of that financial burden.

It applies retroactively from August 1, 2023, and is set to conclude on March 31, 2026. The Manitoba government is allocating $5.4 million towards the program.

The measure comes as no surprise, given that the New Democratic Party had made it a campaign promise last fall. At the time, the Manitoba NDP also set a goal to build more EV charging stations, but no funding for that purpose is set aside in the budget.

Manitoba joins British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador as the seventh province to provide EV purchase incentives. Yukon also offers an EV purchase rebate.

Supporting mining and manufacturing

In addition to launching a new EV rebate program, the Manitoba budget announced a $10-million investment in Winnipeg-based bus manufacturer New Flyer Industries (NFI) Group, whose product line includes a number of zero-emission buses.

According to the budget, the investment will support the creation of 400 low-carbon manufacturing jobs as part of upgrades to New Flyer’s “All-Canadian Build facility,” which will produce, finish and service zero-emission buses specifically for the Canadian market, in conjunction with the establishment of a National Heavy Equipment Vehicle Innovation Centre of Excellence in the province.

Electric Autonomy contacted NFI seeking more details about this new facility. A spokesperson provided the following statement: “NFI can confirm it has discussed planned upgrades and expansion of our Winnipeg facilities with the Government of Manitoba. … We look forward to providing additional details in the near-term as this exciting initiative advances.”

The budget also emphasized the importance of collaborating with Indigenous Peoples to develop a meaningful economic reconciliation strategy. One of the initiatives that is underway is a comprehensive critical minerals strategy.

“The development of a real critical minerals strategy is key to being a low carbon leader for generations to come… These minerals are essential for a wide range of applications, including clean energy technologies, electronics, telecommunications, and advanced manufacturing,” reads the budget. “Global demand for these minerals is rapidly increasing and will play a vital role in economic growth and innovation in Manitoba.”

Currently, Manitoba has 48 active critical mineral exploration projects.

Ontario’s budget

The Manitoba Budget follows recent provincial budget releases from Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

Ontario’s 2024 Budget emphasized the government’s efforts to establish a “world-leading” electric vehicle and battery supply chain, but new announcements were few.

Over the next three years, starting in 2024-2025, the Ontario government said will allocate $2.8 billion over three years for “strategic investments in industrial support and land development, including Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector and electric vehicle battery production.”

Ontario is also investing $15 million in new funding in the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF). Launched in 2022 with an initial investment of $5 million, the CMIF will now receive an extra $5 million annually from 2024 until 2027. The funding will continue to support research, development and commercialization of innovative technologies related to critical minerals.

The Ontario government does not offer a rebate for EV purchases.

B.C.’s budget

Meanwhile, B.C. is also working on its own strategy for critical minerals.

In the B.C budget 2024, the government said it plans to invest $24 million over the next three years to support its critical mineral strategy. The funding is to strengthen partnerships with First Nations, industry, local governments, and the public, and to improve resources for mine permitting.

The B.C. budget also earmarked $318 million in new operating funding to continue the CleanBC grant and EV rebate programs. Another extra $30 million will add more than 500 new public EV charging stations in the province.

Over the next three years, $27 million will be allocated to help school districts purchase electric school buses. A further $20 million is designated for grants to promote active transportation in communities.

The government is also providing $248 million in capital funding over three years to BC Transit, which will go, in part, to purchasing new zero-emission buses.

Quebec’s budget

Notably, Quebec, in its recently announced Budget 2024, revealed plans to gradually phase out its provincial rebate program by 2027.

The announcement, made in March, caused mixed reactions across the industry with some advocates saying the government should not be scaling back efforts to advance adoption.

The government’s position is that the momentum towards a shift to EVs is great enough that the market doesn’t need incentives anymore.

Starting Jan. 1, 2025, the current $7,000 incentive offered to those buying full battery-electrics (BEVs) will fall to $4,000. A year later, in 2026, it’ll go down to $2,000 and, by 2027, no incentives will be given. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) currently eligible for a $5,000 subsidy will receive $2,000 next year, $1,000 in 2026 down to nothing in 2027.

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