The province’s enhanced Electric Vehicle Incentive Program to encourage drivers to buy green vehicles is such a success, the government is leaving dealerships in the lurch for months before compensating them.
“Right now we have $266,000 owing to us at the present time,” said Jamie Smith, controller at Gus Revenberg Chevrolet Buick GMC on Tecumseh Road East.
In its 2016 budget the province announced an enhanced rebate program that would increase rebates for electric and hybrid vehicles up to a maximum of $14,000, which applies to the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt sold at Revenberg.
Since the program went into effect Jan. 1, 2017, there has been a steady increase in eligible vehicles sold, Smith said.
“On the bill of sale the customer gets credit for the $14,000 immediately and then we’re left to collect the money from the province,” Smith said.
“It’s just a system that maybe wasn’t well thought out. When they unveiled the system and incentives — whether they underestimated the popularity of it — I don’t think they did because they set some pretty lofty targets for electric vehicle sales to help the province and yet they don’t have the manpower or the systems to back it up.”
Smith said he is waiting to be reimbursed for 19 vehicles sold since May 26, the majority of them Volts. Thus far this year Revenberg has sold 17 Volts and five Bolts.
The last reimbursement came on Oct. 6 for vehicles sold on March 16 and April 4, Smith said.
“We’re left to collect the receivables from the Ontario government hoping we’re going to get paid within 30, maybe 60 days at the most,” said Smith.
“It’s turning out to be six months. We said fine, enough’s enough.”
A frustrated Smith reached out to Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MPP Percy Hatfield, who rose to ask about the situation at Queen’s Park on Thursday.
“The Liberals grabbed the headlines with a rebate for people buying new electric vehicles, fuel efficient vehicles,” Hatfield said in a question directed at Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca. “Here’s a new headline: ‘The Liberals Are Deadbeats.’ They’re not paying their bills. Some new car dealers are owed as much as half a million dollars.
“In the spirit of being open and transparent, when will these deadbeat Liberals start paying the rebates to new car dealers in a timely fashion?”
Del Duca acknowledged there is a problem in his response.
“The member is right, there have been some challenges within the processing of payment for those — in some cases dealers and in some cases individuals — to receive their rebate,” Del Duca said.
“I can assure the member that the government and the Ministry of Transportation are working very hard to fix some of the challenges. I anticipate that the individual or the dealer that he’s talking about will receive the rebate soon.”
According to Automotive News Canada in a story published last week, a dealer in the Hamilton-Oakville area who owns a General Motors and BMW dealership is owed more than $780,000 by the government.
On the government’s webpage for the Electronic Vehicle Incentive Program they offer both an email and a telephone number followed by “Please note due to the high volume of applications one access point may be busy — if so please try the Media
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