Tesla wins case against Ontario government over electric vehicle rebates

Tesla Motors Canada has won its case against the Ontario government over electric vehicle rebates.

“We’re pleased with the Court’s decision to strike down the [Ontario government’s] transition plan as unfair and unlawful,” a Tesla representative said in a statement Monday night.

The Ontario government said it is reviewing the ruling.

In mid-August, Tesla Canada filed a suit against the provincial government alleging it has suffered “substantial harm” and lost sales following the cancellation of an electric vehicle rebate.

‘Factual assumptions’

The lawsuit came after a decision by Ontario Premier Doug Ford to scrap the province’s Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP) launched by the previous Liberal government. The program offered rebates of up to $14,000 on qualifying vehicles.

When it cancelled the EHVIP, the province promised to honour the incentive for those who have their vehicle delivered, registered and plated if it was purchased from a dealer before Sept. 10. But the province said the incentive would end immediately for anyone who ordered their vehicle directly from the manufacturer, which impacted Tesla customers.

In its lawsuit, filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Tesla Canada — which said it is an Ontario-licensed dealer — said its customers no longer qualify for an incentive, unlike those buying electric vehicles from other companies.

Tesla Canada argued the government “deliberately and arbitrarily” excluded its customers, while providing no warning or the chance to offer any input.

“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,” Justice Frederick L. Myers wrote in the court’s decision.

Jessica Trepanier, a spokesperson for Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, said officials are “reviewing the ruling and will make a decision on how to proceed in the coming days.”

‘I felt really left out’

For Tesla buyers like Calvin Kimura, the court decision is a win against the PC’s cuts to green energy programs but still leaves a lot of confusion.

He said now that the rebate is in limbo he doesn’t know what to do about his Tesla order.

“Fourteen-thousand isn’t a small sum of money,” he said in an interview with CBC News after hearing the court decision.

“I’ve been trying to make my decisions accordingly and it’s getting tiresome…. I just need to know if I’m going to get [a rebate] or not.”

Kimura said “it was a big shock” when he first heard he wasn’t eligible for the rebate under the government’s new rules.

“I felt really left out, especially because I knew every other manufacturer was allowed to give the rebate to their customers,” he said. “I felt like I was being targeted.”

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