Buying an electric car becomes cheaper Wednesday as federal rebates kick in

Federal rebates to encourage Canadians to buy electric cars take effect today.
   
The rebates, announced in the last Liberal budget, will take up to $5,000 off the cost of electric vehicles, and $2,500 off plug-in hybrids, but they apply only to cars that cost less than $45,000.

Ottawa is raising that to $55,000 to increase the options a buyer can choose and still receive the rebate, which will allow some of the most popular cars, including the Tesla Model 3, to qualify.

Nine electric cars and 13 plug-in hybrids are eligible, including the second- and third-most popular electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt.

Electric-car experts say there is no doubt government incentives help drive electric-car purchases, noting when the new conservative government in Ontario killed a $14,000 rebate last year, electric-car sales in that province plummeted.

Road transportation accounts for as much as one-fifth of Canada's greenhouse-gas emissions and the incentives are part of the federal government's strategy to meet its international targets for reducing emissions to halt climate change.