Electric vehicle sales in Ontario were down 54 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time in 2018 according to data obtained by Electric Mobility Canada, a non-profit focused on clean transportation. That figure accounts for sales of both plug-in electric vehicles like the Toyota Prius Prime and battery electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
While EV sales in Ontario took a nosedive, they rose by 22 percent nationwide. British Columbia saw a 100 percent increase in EV sales year-over-year, while Quebec saw a 56 percent rise.
Electric Mobility Canada said the sharp decline in EV sales in Ontario is mostly due to the cancellation of Ontario's EV incentive program, which was axed in July of 2018.
Certain electric vehicles still qualify for a federal EV incentive of up to $5,000, while plug-in buyers can get $2,500 back from the Canadian government. Ontario's provincial rebate was much higher, however, offering buyers up to $14,000 back.
The Ontario government previously estimated that cancelling the EV incentive program could save taxpayers up to $1 Billion over four years.
Electric Mobility Canada also compiled model-specific sales results for their study. The Tesla Model 3 was the most popular EV in Canada in the first three months of 2019 with 1,594 units sold, followed by the Hyundai Kona Electric at 1,163 units and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV at 710 units. EV market share in Canada was 1.89 percent, compared to 1.5 percent during the same period last year.