The Ontario government's electric contradiction, why concerns over EV battery longevity look to be misplaced, and snowmelt brings worrying news


Rebates three ways 

The U.S. climate bill’s new proposed tax credit for EVs made in North America has been applauded by the Ontario government as a “boon” for the province’s auto sector. But the Ford government’s support of EV rebates south of the border runs counter to its position at home: Ontario is one of the few Canadian provinces that doesn’t offer a provincial purchase incentive.

Indeed, as Clean Energy Canada’s Joanna Kyriazis told the Canadian Press, “Premier Ford's EV vision is really missing half the equation… Right now, we have both an affordability crisis and a climate crisis in the province, and if the Ford government could do more to help Ontarians get their hands on money-saving electric vehicles, that would provide a solution to both.”

Meanwhile, other provinces are motoring ahead with EV incentives. B.C. recently updated its long-standing rebate program to include income eligibility criteria announcing that, going forward, only households earning less than $125,000 will be eligible for the full amount. And with the dawn of the U.S.’s considerably more generous rebate of US$7,000 for new EVs and US$4,000 for used ones, there is still a risk “we could see the used EV inventory flowing out of Canada and into the U.S., unless we start offering more support for used EVs.” B.C. did recently introduce a PST exemption on the sale of used EVs.

Ontario, of course, has neither support for new nor used EVs. On the eve of his August 9 throne speech, Premier Ford could—and should—lay out his vision to turn Ontario into an electric vehicle powerhouse. (On that note, recent lobby activity suggests Tesla may be exploring the possibility of a factory in Ontario.)

A ‘big chunk’ of emissions

Along with a new EV tax credit, the U.S. climate spending package (which now has support from all 50 Senate Democrats and just passed through the senate) includes measures to help clean up industry, which makes up a “big chunk of (America’s) emissions story.” The new program could help manufacturers with the cost of installing equipment to reduce emissions, like carbon capture and storage. The changes could also help federal agencies “buy clean”, by using lower-carbon concrete and other materials in buildings and highways.

Electricity and inflation

The new bill will offer more than just emissions cuts. The clean electricity measures in the proposal may also help ease inflationary pressures, as this Bloomberg analysis points out: “Extending tax credits for wind and solar power generation should lower the cost of creating renewable power, and also provide price stability, given that wind and solar are not exposed to fuel volatility.” 

Batteries outlasting the cars they power

One of the most commonly cited concerns about the switch to EVs is the longevity of batteries that power them. But as one Nissan executive told Forbes last week, “Almost all of the batteries we’ve ever made are still in cars… And we’ve been selling electric cars for 12 years.” While the long life of batteries is good news for drivers, it has delayed recycling efforts in Europe and the U.S. In fact, as the story explains, “it’s clear that most EV batteries will outlast the vehicles they were installed in, and even then, they have a worthwhile second life before they need to be stripped down for recycling.”

The changing landscape

Almost 80 million Americans are at risk from ever-depleting snowmelt across the Western U.S., which is drying up rivers that feed the country’s western states. As this new deep dive from Bloomberg explores, “the snow in the mountains is this incredible gift that created California… Nobody would build all of that stuff in a climate that was on the brink of being a desert.” The shifting climate is affecting parts of Canada too, with swaths of the Yukon landscape set to transform from “forest to grassland” or “tundra to shrublands.” 

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The Clean Energy Review is co-authored by Trevor Melanson and Keri McNamara
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