Canadian govt would increase write-off for zero-emissions trucks

Canadian businessES would be able deduct the full cost of electric trucks under a budget proposal. Image: Nikolamotor

Canadian businessES would be able deduct the full cost of electric trucks under a budget proposal. Image: Nikolamotor

Businesses in Canada would be able to write off the full cost of zero-emissions trucks under provisions in the federal government’s new proposed budget.

Electric, plug-in hybrid (with batteries above 15 kwh) and hydrogen fuel cell freight trucks rated above 11,788 kilograms would be eligible for full deductions under the 2019 federal budget, presented in the House of Commons on March 19. Current regulations allow 40 percent of the cost of zero-emissions trucks to be deducted.

“We will provide immediate expensing to a full range of zero-emission vehicles so that businesses that want to switch over their fleets can recoup that investment sooner,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in remarks in the House of Commons.

The expanded deductions would last in full until 2023. They were among a package of proposals to increase adoption of zero-emissions cars among people and businesses in Canada. It included purchase incentives for up to C$5,000 (the Canadian dollar equals US$0.75) for individual car buyers.

“While these vehicles are not yet common in communities across Canada, they can provide a cleaner, more efficient way to transport people and goods and, over the long run, help Canadians reduce the everyday cost of transportation,” Morneau said.

The government is also proposing to spend C$130 million on expanding recharging and refueling stations across Canada.

Conservative members of Parliament banged tables and stomped their feet before walking out.

"This budget is not a serious fiscal plan for the country,” Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said, citing the ongoing crisis in Liberal Justin Trudeau’s government, which is accused of attempting to interfere in the prosecution of the Quebec engineering firm SNC Lavalin.

The Trudeau government, which faces elections in October, has also been under fire from the trucking industry for carbon taxes that go into effect April 1 and are expected to increase the price of diesel.

“If the revenues generated from the carbon tax by industry are not used to support faster market penetration of carbon-reducing technologies for diesel trucks, then it’s quite difficult for carriers to comprehend what purpose carbon taxation has on our sector,” Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, said in a statement on March 13.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has been urging the government to reinvest money collected through carbon taxes to help fleets improve their environmental footprint.