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Startups and Subsidies: EV/AV report, August 8

Toronto, Ontario — More rebates for electric vehicle purchases in British Columbia, a Canadian startup shows off solar panel EV upgrades and Ontario invests 5 million to train and employ 500 autoworkers. This is your weekly report on the latest in electric and autonomous vehicles.

Charging Up

B.C. is increasing the cap on EV rebates as well as the range of models eligible for rebates—no pun intended.

Under the CleanBC Go Electric Passenger Vehicle Rebate Program, purchased and leased battery, fuel cell and long-range plug-in hybrid EVs can enjoy a rebate up to $4,000. Shorter ranged plug-in hybrids have had their maximum rebates increased from $1,500 to $2,000.

Compact and full-size EVs are only eligible for rebates if they cost $55,000 or less. However, larger EVs such as minivans and SUVs now qualify for rebates, as long as they cost $70,000 or less.
While these rebates are staggered based on income levels, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation says that over 90 percent of British Columbians will qualify.

“We’re helping make electric vehicles more affordable for more people in communities across the province,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Plug and Play

CAPSolar, a Montreal-based startup have made another step to a future where solar panels on car roofs are the norm – creating modular solar panels that can be installed on any low-speed EVs with no modifications.

Currently, most solar cars on the market like the Dutch Lightyear 0 are designed with built-in solar panels. This sets the CAPSolar apart as a product closer to an upgrade kit to supplement low-speed electric vehicles – a cheaper entryway into solar energy than purchasing completely new vehicles.

At the same time, this modularity comes at the expense of solar energy as a supplementary energy source, rather than the main source. According to Microgrid Media, tests in Montreal indicate range extension between 17 to 26 percent depending on the weather – improvements that will reduce fuel costs, not an EV that completely powers itself with sunlight.

These prototype panels will recoup their costs over two years and eight months in North America, according to the environmental non-profit Solar Impulse Foundation. It is not currently known when they will become available commercially, or how.

Now Hiring

Investment into EV production has skyrocketed in the past few years, and job support in this industry is picking up.

The Ontario government is investing $5 million to train 500 people for careers in the automotive manufacturing sector, aimed to combat the skilled trades shortage and promote employment from underrepresented groups.

According to Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, this program features online and on-the-job training, to develop skills in manufacturing, project management and troubleshooting.

Additionally, employers are expected to receive up to $4,600 in wage subsidies per trainee, who will receive a job offer from one of 300 small and medium businesses after completing a three-month paid job placement.

Are solar cars the future, or a niche that won’t break into Canada’s market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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