Suing for Incentives: Tesla Doesn't Like the Way Ontario's Treating It
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.)
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