By on August 16, 2018

tesla model x, Image: Tesla Motors

In June, Ontario — the place just over yonder from Detroit and Buffalo — switched governments for the first time in 15 years. As part of his planned overhaul of the province’s finances, newly minted leader Doug Ford announced the cancellation of an electric vehicle rebate program that handed up to $14,000 to buyers of green cars.

Hardly an appropriate use of taxpayers’ dollars in a place where the debt’s approaching a third of a trillion dollars, the government implied. Ford axed the rebate last month, with buyers allowed to accept the former perk until Sept. 10th. Sorry — almost all buyers.

As the Canadian Press reports, the subsidy extension applies to all buyers who ordered their vehicle through a dealership and expect to take delivery by Sept. 10th. However, because of Tesla’s direct sales method, it didn’t make the cut. The $14,000 government perk dangling in from of its Model 3 sedan vanished overnight, leaving competitors to reap some sort of an advantage, if only for a couple of months.

Tesla’s Canadian arm is not happy about this, as Ontario has plenty of wealthy, green people who like driving around downtown Toronto, Ottawa, etc, in electric vehicles. (One of them bought a Tesla last year, only to find out on a road trip that the Supercharger plug didn’t fit. Fun story.)

In its bid to even the playing field and ensure the government hands over dough to its buyers, Tesla filed a lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court, seeking a judicial review. It’s unfair, says Tesla, that one company’s customers would be denied what other buyers enjoy, even if it is during a short transition period. The Ford government’s “arbitrary and entirely unreasonable” decision has already harmed the company financially, the automaker claims.

Model 3s only recently began appearing on Ontario roads, so there’s quite a backlog of buyers waiting for theirs to show up. Obviously, having the province hand over $14k for your car purchase sweetens the pot considerably, and Tesla says buyers expected that incentive to be in place when they take delivery. Both entities will have their day in court.

(Note: It seems Tesla’s weird feud with Ford now includes anyone named Ford.)

[Image: Tesla]

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39 Comments on “Suing for Incentives: Tesla Doesn’t Like the Way Ontario’s Treating It...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …Model 3s only recently began appearing on Ontario roads, so there’s quite a backlog of buyers waiting for theirs to show up…

    Is there? Because there are thousands of unsold Model 3s baking in the California sun in two different locations and the numbers stored keep growing.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Guess this lawsuit disproves all the years of Tesla fanbois telling all who would listen that nobody buys a Tesla because of government incentives, but instead purely out of their desire for the fantastic ownership experience and/or green virtue signaling. Anyway, I thought that Tesla has such a backlog of orders that they shouldn’t mind losing a few Ontario sales – just moves those at the back of the line that much closer to their delivery date.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    “Tesla’s Canadian arm is not happy about this, as Ontario has plenty of wealthy, green people who like driving around downtown Toronto, Ottawa, etc, in electric vehicles.”

    but I thought many say Teslas don’t need corporate welfare to find buyers, that the cars are fine on their own merits?

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      Tesla fans are delusional if they believe incentives don’t matter.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        10 years ago Ontario had a $2000 rebate on cars that met a certain fuel mileage. Smart cars, minis etc. When the rebate stopped so did the sales of those cars. And that was “only” $2000.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          $2000 matters more on a cheap car.

          $14k CAD isn’t chump change on a $50k USD car (probably more than $50k CAD), but Tesla’s vehicles are much more desirable than a Smart car or a Mini. Neither of those makes has a 400k sales backlog.

  • avatar
    RS

    Tesla should reduce the price of their cars by the amount it spends on lawyers suing for incentives.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    You can find the incentives in the tent….

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The rebate applies to vehicles bought through dealerships but not to ones bought directly from a manufacturer (e.g. Tesla) without going through a dealership? Sounds like the dealership mafia at work. I can understand why Tesla is pissed.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    “as Ontario has plenty of wealthy, green people who like driving around downtown Toronto, Ottawa, etc, in electric vehicles. ”

    Why to wealthy people need a rebate, especially one as substantial as this?

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      “Why do wealthy people need a rebate? As a not so wealthy Ontario taxpayer , that pretty well sums up my thoughts .

      • 0 avatar
        IanGTCS

        As a fellow ontario resident I agree that people who can afford a Tesla don’t need the rebate. My only issue is the suddenness of the cancellation. Now if the get around to rapidly cancelling drive clean for personal vehicles I’ll be thrilled.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      The flip side of that (and what probably has Tesla so worried) is that the base model they’ve held off building was going to end up in the realm of not wealthy people (with no options and the rebate, it’d come in around $32k CDN/$25k USD). Now that the base model just got 50% more expensive (or lost its 33% discount if you prefer), they’re probably getting quite a few cancellations.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Tell you what TTAC..If you go 7 days without a Tesla story I will give you 5 bucks…what yah say??

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      The frequency of Tesla stories is not surprising. Every car enthusiast, whether welcoming or resenting the car industry applecart being upset, knows at some level that Tesla is in the forefront of that upset.

      And though many resent Musk’s flamboyance, that flamboyance probably is part of the expected picture and feeds the publicity.

      I got tired of the Tesla bashing stories here. But they seem to have abated at the same time Tesla’s stability seems less assured.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Great job, Doug! Promise made – promise kept!

    I believe the reasoning to exclude Tesla, it’s because they are taking deposits and not even building, never mind delivering promised $35,000 cars.

    And nobody subsidized my purchase of a Hybrid, so, why would I subsidize someones’ electric car?

    Go, Ford Nation!

  • avatar

    governments have no business subsidizing any product.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      then I hope you don’t buy anything, ever. ‘cos pretty much every government in the world subsidizes its industries to one extent or another.

    • 0 avatar
      pdl2dmtl

      Let’s start with the corn. Cows will eat grass, the meat will be more expensive (and tastier), people will eat less of it and everybody will be healthier. Or no more corn fructose in almost everything.
      Win-win… Sic.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      But don’t all new technologies require diversion of resources, often by government, from the status quo? Was the internet originally or ever self-financing? Computers?

  • avatar

    Whose fault is it that buyers waiting for “their Model 3” do not have said vehicle? Isn’t it mostly Tesla’s responsibility, in this case, for not having the product available so the incentive can be taken advantage of by interested buyers?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Ontario is simply parroting Michigan, its pro-dealer, anti-Tesla brother across the border.

    OTOH, removal of heavy subsidies is always a shock. In principle, I’m no fan of subsidies, but we all like the subsidies that benefit *us*, whether it’s a direct subsidy, a tax break, or a community benefit.

    Ontario was OK with giving GM’s Oshawa plant ~$500 million (can’t recall the exact number) in tax breaks to keep it running. Subsidies are never evenly distributed.

  • avatar
    pbx

    Unsaid in the article is that the rebate was based on Ontario’s carbon tax. The new government canceled the carbon tax and consequently the rebate was killed with it.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Anyone know where I can get a MOGA hat?

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yes , the new government cancelled the carbon tax. Ottawa has a complete different agenda. We may find ourselves with a federally mandated carbon tax.

    With a federal election coming up we will see if the “Little Potato ” has the gonads to shove the carbon tax down the throat of “vote rich ” Ontario.

    Doug Ford for P.M.

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