Ontario to offer big rebates on electric cars

TORONTO, July 15 Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:15pm EDT

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TORONTO, July 15 (Reuters) - The province of Ontario said on Wednesday it would offer rebates of between C$4,000 ($3,570) and C$10,000 for plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles bought after July 1, 2010.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the aim was to have one out of every 20 vehicles driven in Canada's most populous province to be electrically powered by 2020.

"This will be the most attractive rebate, certainly in North America," McGuinty said at a press conference. "It may be the most attractive rebate ... in the world."

Buyers of electric cars will also get special green license plates that will allow them to use carpool lanes, even if there is only one person in the vehicle, as well as access to public charging facilities and parking at Ontario government and GO Transit commuter lots.

The government also committed to adding 500 electric vehicles to its public service fleet.

The size of the rebate will depend on the vehicle's battery capacity.

Toronto-based Zenn Motor Co (ZNN.V), which builds electric vehicles for use in low-speed areas, was excluded from Ontario's rebate program because its cars have not been deemed safe for highway use. Zenn has promised to launch a highway-capable car by the end of 2009.

($1=$1.12 Canadian) (Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson)

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