Federal electric-vehicle rebate uses half its three-year budget in eight months

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OTTAWA — A new federal rebate program to encourage Canadians to buy electric cars is proving more popular than expected.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau allocated $300 million over three years to the program last May but nearly half of it was spoken for in just the first eight months.

More than 33,000 Canadians received the rebates of between $2,500 and $5,000 when they bought eligible electric and hybrid vehicles after the program kicked in May 1.

The briefing book given to Garneau when he was reappointed as the minister of transport says the rebate encouraged more sales than expected.

It says overall sales of electric cars are up 32 per cent since the rebate began May 1, compared to the same period last year.

Overall electric vehicles were three per cent of passenger vehicle sales in 2019, compared to two per cent in 2018.

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