Saturday, July 18, 2009

E-Car Rebates

Dalton McGuinty is planning to give us a break if we buy an electric car in the form of a rebate worth up to $10,000. It's not, as some critics suggest, a break only if you buy an electric Chevy as a means to help GM, but any e-car. It's a way to encourage all manufacturers to change direction. And some manufacturers are way ahead on this one, like the Zenn producers in Quebec. I haven't been much of a fan of McGuinty's mainly because of his preference for golf courses over environmentally-sensitive spaces, but I do like this idea.

Jim Bradley says, "We want all auto makers to embrace this strategy to help Ontario become a centre of production for innovative, world-leading automotive technology."

Even better, though, would be ways to motivate people to stop driving. Locally, some people think the Light-Rail Transit will be successful on that front. I'm still dubious. People change their behaviours only if the rewards are great enough. You have to really hate driving to be willing to walk or cab or drive to the train station, take the train, then walk or cab to work from there. I'm not convinced traffic is bad enough in this region to make LRT a more rewarding alternative. And a $10,000 rebate is a pretty hefty reward attached to a new car.

In Germany, one company is offering a 7% discount to all customers who leave their car at home. The green rebate is already attracting 3-5 customers each day. And it is hoped to reduce traffic and parking problems in the area as well as attracting more business.

We need more initiatives like this - and soon.

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