Not only is the Ontario government failing to convince regular folks to purchase an electric vehicle, it can’t even get its own staff to buy in.
According to figures obtained by the Toronto Sun through a Freedom of Information request, a mere 4.16% of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) passenger vehicle fleet is electric, mostly hybrids.
The number of electric vehicles on the road overall is just 14,005 — or roughly one in every 510 passenger vehicles — registered in Ontario, despite generous government subsidies.
In 2009, the Dalton McGuinty government launched a bold plan to have one in every 20 passengers vehicles on the road electric by 2020 — dubbed “1 in 20 by 2020.”
And it planned to set the example with an even more ambitious target for the OPS.
“The McGuinty government will lead the way in building consumer demand by purchasing electric vehicles for the OPS fleet. Twenty per cent of eligible new Ontario Public Sector passenger vehicle purchases will be electric by 2020,” a news release said at the time.
Eight years later, and with less than three years to go until the self-imposed deadline, they’re not even in sight of the finish line.
Progressive Conservative MPP Michael Harris said this is the latest in a long list of expensive green “schemes” by the Ontario Liberals that is failing to meet their objectives.
“It was an aspirational goal; a stretch goal,” Harris quipped. “It’s an electric waste of taxpayer’s money.”
A statement from the office of Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca says the target set by the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan for 5% of sales or leases to be electric and hydrogen passenger vehicles by 2020 remains a viable goal.
“After years of slow progress, we saw a significant increase in electric vehicles in the province in 2016 and continuing this year, with nearly 14,000 such vehicles now registered in Ontario,” the statement says.
As for the OPS, it has 62 charging stations across the province, one of the largest single-charging infrastructure providers in Ontario, the statement says.
“Per the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) ‘Ontario will buy or lease green-plate-eligible passenger vehicles for the OPS fleet wherever possible,’” the statement says. “As such, we will continue to look at electric vehicles in the OPS passenger vehicle fleet as the technology and available charging infrastructure evolves to meet business needs.”
The 2009 electric vehicle plan called for rebates of between $4,000 and $10,000 for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles, since upped, access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and special green licence plates.
While electric vehicles are becoming more affordable, there are still far cheaper gasoline models available to the public, and many of these rebates are going to drivers who can afford a $100,000-plus Tesla.
Most importantly, the government promised to build infrastructure to charge electric vehicles.
Harris said the government wanted to have 485 charging stations, and he believes the province is still one-third short of that goal.
“I think the first question people ask themselves when they’re looking at potentially buying an electric vehicle is, ‘Will this car get me where I want to go?” Harris said. “Tens of millions of dollars that taxpayers put out, frankly for the elite few here in the province.”
Ontario Public Service
Total vehicles in OPS fleet: 6093
Passenger vehicles in OPS fleet: 2163
Battery electric vehicles: 13
Plug-in hybrid electric: 77
Total electric in OPS fleet: 90
Percentage of electric vehicles in OPS passenger fleet: 4.16%
Goal by 2020: 20%
All of Ontario
Total number of registered passenger vehicles: 7,141,817
Battery electric vehicles: 6,574
Plug-in hybrid electric: 7,431
Total electric: 14,005
Total percentage of electric vehicles: 0.2%
Goal by 2020: 5%