While the experimental electric car that General Motors hopes will turn around its fortunes doesn't hit the market till late next year, the province, which owns 3.8 per cent of GM after a multi-level government bailout of the automaker, is planning hefty cash incentives for would-be Volt buyers.
Premier Dalton McGuinty and Transportation Minister Jim Bradley made the announcement at Courtesy Chevrolet on The Queensway to declare the governments "support for Ontarians buying electric vehicles.
In the U.S., the Volt, a plug-in electric hybrid that is more advanced than traditional hybrids such as the Toyota Prius because it is propelled solely by its electric motor, will cost about $40,000 and there are to be government rebates worth $7,500.
Sources say McGuinty, a vocal booster of the Volt since it was first unveiled as a concept car in 2007, plans cash incentives in Ontario of up to $10,000.
That would bring the Volt and other as-yet-unavailable plug-in electric cars including an upcoming version of the Prius more in line with the price of conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.
In January, McGuinty announced the province would partner with California-based firm Better Place to create "innovative infrastructure for electric cars a necessary step in getting electric cars running on our roads and highways."
That means building electrical charging stations to increase the driving range of electric cars. For example, the Volt can drive about 60 kilometres on one overnight electrical charge. However, it will also have a small gasoline engine with a 25-litre tank that will charge the electrical motor, giving it a range of closer to 600 kilometres.
At the January announcement, the premier hinted at the financial incentives to be unveiled this morning. He also said electric cars would get "preferred access" to highways through use of the new high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
As well, McGuinty, who often uses a hybrid Toyota Highlander SUV, is expected to promise to electrify 20 per cent of the government fleet by 2020.