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Canada plans incentives for electric vehicles, infrastructure

Canada's government unveiled incentives for the purchase and adaptation of electric vehicles as the nation aims to move to low-emitting transport.

In his 2019 budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government will provide C$300 million over three years to help consumers purchase electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The plan would provide a C$5,000 incentive for buyers of vehicles priced at less than C$45,000, the government said in the March 19 document.

Businesses that buy battery, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell vehicles would be allowed to write off the cost of the vehicles in the first full tax year after the purchase. That program would apply as of March 19 and run until Jan. 1, 2024. For light vehicles like taxis or small trucks, capital costs would be capped at C$55,000, compared with C$30,000 for regular vehicles.

"The government is taking action to help more Canadians choose zero-emission vehicles, which will allow Canada to transition to a low carbon economy and reduce transportation costs for the middle class," the document said. The programs also aim "to encourage investment in Canada's domestic auto industry so that it can become a global leader in zero-emission transportation manufacturing."

The budget also provides C$130 million over five years to expand vehicle charging and refueling stations. It will also provide C$5 million over the same period to encourage manufacturers to make enough vehicles to meet the government's goals.

In order to become law the budget must be passed by Canadian lawmakers. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party holds a majority of government votes, which means the plan is likely to be passed into law.