Stories & Features

Scrapping your car could earn you $6,000 towards an electric car

Imag e of an old car, covered with fallen leaves and debris
Does this car qualify to be scrapped to net a $6,000 rebate toward the purchase of a new electric vehicle? That depends on whether it's running condition, and whether it's been insured for at least six months.

SCRAP-IT program could bring your total new-car rebates to $14,000

Did you know that if you combine it with provincial and federal rebates, a program that delivers rebates for scrapping gas-powered cars could give you a total of $14,000 off a new electric vehicle?

That means that the Nissan Leaf you've been eyeing, listed with an MSRP of just over $44,000, could be yours for under $31,000 before tax. And that a loaded Hyundai Kona electric – an SUV with a range of up to 415 km – could cost you just over $40,000.

Most battery electric car purchases in B.C. qualify for the up to $3,000 provincial rebate and up to $5,000 federal rebate when the list price of the EV is less than $55,000. But for those who have a qualifying old gas guzzler, there's an additional $6,000 rebate (or $3,000 for buying a used EV) available through SCRAP-IT.

You earn that additional rebate by taking an operating gas-powered car off the road for good. But before you think about scrapping your car, or running out and buying the cheapest used car you can find to cash in on the rebate, there are a few things you should know:

  • Unless you've had insurance on the vehicle for a minimum six months, it's not eligible.
  • If it's a 2002 model or newer that gets really good mileage, it may not qualify.
  • Not all makes and models of electric vehicles qualify for purchase under the program. Check the list of qualifying vehicles, and participating dealerships.
  • While there are more SCRAP-IT rebates available in 2021 than in past years, funding could run out by the fall. It's that popular.

SCRAP-IT is a not-for-profit independent society that gets its funding for various rebates through sources like CleanBC, and private funding arrangements.

Rebates for used EVs, electric bikes and more available

SCRAP-IT rebates also apply to the purchase of a used electric vehicle, but the rebate for used EVs is $3,000.

"A used electric vehicle is a good way for someone to step into the market and find out if an EV suits them," says Diane Roberts, CEO of SCRAP-IT. " And now that EVs have been around pretty much since 2015, we're starting to see a lot more used inventory."

Buying an electric car isn't the only rebate option available under SCRAP-IT. Taking a gas-powered car off the road could also earn you:

  • $1,050 towards the purchase of a qualifying electric bike
  • If you live in Victoria, an 11-month BC Transit Ecopass for the Victoria region (an approximate $880 value)
  • A $500 credit with a limited number of car shares in B.C. (Modo, Kootenay Carshare Co-op, Coast Car Co-Op, Spark Car Share in Invermere)
  • A $200 cash option
  • A $100 cash payout for scrapping a car that doesn't qualify under the program

See details of non-EV incentives under the program.

If your 2002 or newer car goes 100 km on 7.1 litres of gas, it doesn't qualify

New to the SCRAP-IT program this year is a requirement designed to ensure the car you're looking at scrapping really should be off the road. If it's a fuel-efficient model of 2002 or newer, it may not qualify.

Get details on which cars don't qualify at scrapit.ca, where you'll find a list of vehicles that includes any hybrid vehicle 2002 or newer, plus the likes of the Honda CR-Z, Smart FourTwo, Toyota Prius, and Volkswagen Golf TDI diesel. Or go straight to Natural Resource Canadas's fuel-efficiency rating tool and search for the car you have in mind.

You can't flip an old used car. You need to own it and insure it for six months

That was a nice idea while it lasted: scan the classifieds for the cheapest operating used car out there, buy it, then scrap it in return for that $6,000 rebate towards a new EV. But until you own it and insure for at least six months, it won't qualify.

And here's the rub. The program's so popular that in some years, funding runs out and rebate availability ends as early as June. So far in 2021, it appears funding may last until October, but a surge in rebate interest could mean rebate availability ends weeks or months sooner.

No EVs over $77,000 (and no Teslas) qualify for the program

If you're looking to get SCRAP-IT's $6,000 new car rebate, you'll have to purchase an electric vehicle with a MSRP of less than $77,000. And because Tesla isn't a program partner, even the less expensive Model 3 isn't eligible for the program.

And there's one more anomaly. Plug-in hybrids are not eligible, except for the Chrysler Pacifica van.

Also, despite a Pacifica MSRP of over the $55,000 provincial and federal rebate limit, it qualifies for a $5,000 federal and $1,500 provincial plug-in hybrid vehicle rebates as a 7-passenger exception. That adds up to $12,500 in total rebates when a SCRAP-IT rebate is added.

See the full list of qualifying electric vehicles under the SCRAP-IT program.

Is SCRAP-IT helping clean up B.C.? The numbers say YES

Since the SCRAP-IT program began in 1996, it has scrapped more than 50,700 gas-powered vehicles in B.C. And taking thousands of carbon-emitting vehicles off the road adds up to tonnes of emissions saved.

Personal vehicles are responsible for about 45% of B.C.'s household greenhouse gas emissions. SCRAP-IT reports that between the start of 2015 and the end of 2020, the program replaced 6,251 gas-burning vehicles and replaced them with EVs, for a reduction of 75,912 metric tonnes of C02. To put that in perspective, it would take 29 mature forests the size of Vancouver's Stanley Park to sequester that amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over one year.

An average 1990-era mid-size sedan driven 16,000 km a year produces 4.61 tonnes of greenhouse gases, compared to a 2010 hybrid model that produces only 1.54 tonnes. Meanwhile, a 2021 Kia Niro electric produces just 253 kg of GHGs, or about an 18th of that produced by the 1990 gas-powered sedan.

Using the SCRAP-IT Program is a great way to get rid of old polluting cars. The incentives helped me to get into an electric car, saving me thousands of dollars.
– Testimonial from a new-EV buyer on scrapit.ca

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