Ontario court sides with Tesla in electric vehicle rebate lawsuit

The province's EV rebate program is now in limbo

U.S.-based electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has won its lawsuit against the Ontario government regarding the province’s decision to cancel Ontario’s electric vehicle rebate program.

An August 27th, 2018 Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruling written by Justice Frederick Myers determined that the government’s plan to seemingly exclude Tesla owners from receiving an electric vehicle subsidy was “unlawful.”

“If the government wants to transition out of the electric car subsidy program, [Transportation Minister John Yakabuski] must exercise his operational discretion in a lawful manner,” wrote Myers.

“He has yet to do so. I therefore quash and set aside the Minister’s unlawful exercises of discretion to implement the transition program announced July 11th.”

Myers also ordered that the province pay $125,000 for the company’s legal fees.

In a email statement to MobileSyrup, an Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesperson said that the Ministry is “reviewing the decision and have no further comment at this time.”

One month in the making

The court’s decision came roughly one month after Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government cancelled the province’s electric vehicle rebate program and implemented a transition plan that seemingly excluded Tesla owners from applying for grandfathered rebates.

All Ontario electric vehicle owners — except for Tesla-owners — who ordered or purchased their vehicles on or before July 11th, 2018 would continue to receive a rebate so long as the vehicle is “delivered to consumers, registered and plated by September 10th,” according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

Tesla submitted an application for judicial review on August 10th, 2018, seeking that the court quash the government’s transition plan.

From Tesla’s perspective, the core issue was the government’s decision to only permit applications from “dealerships, car owners or prospective car owners.”

Tesla currently operates four stores that are licensed Ontario dealerships. As such, the electric vehicle manufacturer felt that the province arbitrarily targeted Tesla to be excluded from the electric vehicle rebate transition plan.

The Ontario government filed a motion on August 21st, 2018 seeking that the court ignore Tesla’s application on the grounds that “such a decision is not reviewable by the court and is not a basis to quash the decision.”

It’s important to note that Justice Myers’s August 27th decision effectively quashes the government’s elimination of the electric vehicle rebate program, leaving the state of electric vehicle rebates in the province in limbo.

MobileSyrup has reached out to the Ministry of the Attorney General and Tesla for comment. This story will be updated with a response.

Via: Toronto Star

Update 27/08/2018 10:16am ET: Story updated with additional reporting.

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