By March of last year, Ottawa billed taxpayers $759 million on electric vehicle rebates — 153% more than originally budgeted, a new Department of Transport audit shows.
As first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, federal authorities tapped into funding on several occasions because of an unprecedented number of people claiming the rebates.
“The uptake of the program was higher than expected and funding was an ongoing concern,” wrote analysts in the Audit Of Incentives For Zero Emission Vehicles Program.
“The program’s main risk is not having sufficient funding to meet the demand.”
First introduced in 2019, the Liberal government policy allowed those who purchased new electric vehicles below the price of $45,000 to claim a rebate of up to $5,000. Eventually, the federal government raised the eligible purchase price of up to $70,000.
When introducing the program, the Liberals claimed it would cost $300 million over three years.
“The program exhausted its original funding of $300 million and received two subsequent funding top-ups of $287 million and $172 million to continue the program until March 31, 2022 as planned,” the audit reads.
Then in April, the Liberals extended the budget for the program by an additional $1.6 billion until March 31, 2025.
In total, 136,940 buyers have opted into the program.
Late last year, environment minister Steven Guilbeault announced a plan to mandate that all electric vehicles sold in Canada by the year 2035 must be electric or hybrid.
A recent impact analysis found that the program could cost Canadians $100 billion to achieve. The estimates do not include installation costs for charging stations.
When it comes to meeting its own standards with regard to electric vehicles, the federal government has fallen short on converting its fleet to low-emission vehicles.
Federal data shows that of the 2,899 vehicles purchased by Ottawa since 2020 only 137 were electric and 782 were hybrid.