Tesla Buyers Reach Back Into the Public Purse After Court Ruling
We told you earlier this month that Tesla’s Canadian arm was suing the Ontario government for access to big rebates for some of its vehicles. For years, Ontario, located north of Erie, Pennsylvania, handed out up to $14,000 in taxpayer cash to electric vehicle buyers, part of its effort to support green living.
Over the years, the ceiling of eligible MSRPs varied — from unlimited, to $75k, to $150k, and back to $75k, shortly before the ousting of the previous government in this June’s election. This writer made his feelings on lofty EV subsidies quite clear.
While the cancellation of the province’s Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP) came with a grace period for buyers awaiting delivery that runs out on September 10th, it didn’t include Tesla buyers. Thanks to the automaker’s lawsuit, Tesla buyers can now grab back that $14,000.
According to a CBC report, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice sided with Tesla after declaring the government’s reasoning shaky. Ontario stated in early July that only vehicles purchased from a traditional dealer would get the grace period, whereas direct sales would end immediately.
Tesla’s Canadian branch said the decision inflicted “substantial harm,” with many would-be customers cancelling their orders after learning they wouldn’t be eligible for the rebate. The brand was “deliberately and arbitrarily” targeted, it said.
“We’re pleased with the Court’s decision to strike down the [Ontario government’s] transition plan as unfair and unlawful,” a Tesla representative told CBC. Tesla Canada argued that, as an Ontario-licensed dealer, it is just as eligible for the rebate as GM or Nissan.
In the court’s decision, Justice Frederick L. Myers wrote, “The [Government of Ontario’s] asserted rationale for limiting the transition program to franchised dealerships is laden with factual assumptions that were susceptible to being proved or disproved with evidence.”
This might not be the final word on the issue. Through a spokesperson, Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said the government is “reviewing the ruling and will make a decision on how to proceed in the coming days.”
In fairness to Tesla Model 3 buyers, many other car shoppers also benefited from the rebate, including those lusting after the Chevrolet Bolt, Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, and other green machines. Lesser sums were paid to buyers of plug-in hybrids with lower seating capacities and smaller batteries.
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