Comparing three electric vehicle incentives in three countries

Considering an estimated one million battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will be sold globally this year alone, it seems likely that they’re here to stay. Manufacturers are pouring resources into further development of the segment — Honda snuck in the Clarity plug-in before the New Year, and in 2018 there are several anticipated launches like the Jaguar I-PACE crossover and BMW X7 full-size SUV.

Governments around the world, facing pressure to lower emissions, have been onboard the electric bandwagon for quite a while now, some going as far as putting an expiry date on sales of gasoline-powered cars. As such, many, like the three places we’ve listed below, are serving up enticing incentives in the form of cash rebates to tempt consumers to switch over.  


Turns out the Great White North is not a bad place to be for EV lovers. In B.C., the Clean Energy Vehicle Program means buyers can benefit from up to $5,000 off eligible models, which include favourites like the BMW i3, Hyundai IONIQ and Volkswagen e-Golf. In Quebec, it’s as much as $8,000 off a green set of wheels, and even people buying and installing home charging stations get a 50 per cent off break, to a maximum of $600. Those residing in Ontario receive a whopping total $14,000 discount on approved automobiles via the Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.

United States

In the U.S. both federal and state governments offer financial assistance to lessen the blow of buying an EV that, particularly at full MSRP, can be quite prohibitive. The Internal Revenue Service provides a tax credit between $2,500 and $7,500 to lower the upfront purchase cost, the exact amount dependant on vehicle class and battery size. On top of that, certain states stack additional credits on top as well.

United Kingdom

Through the plug-in car grant initiative introduced in 2011, our relatives in Europe can see 35 per cent of their EV price tag slashed, up to a £4,500 maximum, on the spot when purchasing an eligible auto. Similar to Quebec, a further grant of £500 was introduced in March for EV owners who install a dedicated charge point in the garage.

Top affordable vehicles available with heated seats

Maybe with the exception of a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night, there’s nothing as comforting as the embrace of a heated car seat during the chilly season. And unlike years past where this feature was reserved for luxury brands and/or range-topping models, consumers will be pleased to hear it’s becoming more common across a wide range of segments and trims. Here are some of the best examples.

2018 Honda Fit Sport

Honda Fit

This past summer, the versatile Fit hatchback received a facelift with new styling and the addition of a Sport offering boasting a body kit and a bright Orange Fury paint option. But even the LX grade, one step above base, receives front heated seats to keep occupants toasty.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen Jetta

The most affordable entry in VW’s lineup is the Jetta packing an ultra-efficient 1.4-litre turbocharged TSI engine, now including standard 16-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights and a backup camera. Bumping the entry Trendline sedan to Trendline+ adds not just heated seats, but heated exterior mirrors too.

2017 Mazda3 sedan


There are a lot of things going for the Mazda3: the lauded SKYACTIV technology, an available precise-shifting six-speed manual transmission and gorgeous KODO Soul of Motion design. The GS tier allows customers to enjoy heated seats, and surprisingly at a starting price of $20,300, also a heated leather steering wheel.

2017 Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai Elantra

If we’re talking about bang for buck, the Elantra wins hands down. At an MSRP of only $15,999, the compact four-door comes with the sought-after heated front seats and door mirrors. Spend an additional $4,350 and level up to the GL model for a heated leather steering wheel, or $6,700 to GLS to extend automatic seat warming to rear passengers as well. 

Hyundai teases next-generation hydrogen vehicle ahead of launch

It’s only been three years since Hyundai showed Canadians that a production hydrogen-powered passenger vehicle is viable with the Tucson FCEV crossover, but the Korean automaker has already shared some details of its next attempt at the genre.  

The gasoline-free SUV doesn’t yet have a name, as the launch won’t be until a few months into 2018. The styling has clearly been influenced by the smooth and organic-looking FE concept shown last March during the Geneva Motor Show. The same understated and flowing organic body lines are there, and indeed Hyundai says the “pure and serene” design is inspired by nature, or more specifically, water, the model’s only by-product. Unique styling elements like the flush door handles and contoured two-piece wheels are all purposeful to minimize drag and increase aerodynamics.

Powertrain specifics aren’t yet available, but we know the fuel cell efficiency has been increased nine per cent now yielding an estimated driving range of over 580 kilometres. Output gains a boost by an impressive 20 per cent, to 161 horsepower. Cold start capability is improved as well, and this forthcoming example can fire up at temperatures as low as -30 C.

“With exceptional efficiency, serene styling, and uncompromised performance, our next generation fuel cell SUV is the true epitome of an eco-friendly vehicle of the future,” said Lee Ki-sang, senior vice president of Hyundai Motor Group’s Eco Technology Center. “Hyundai Motor will take the lead in developing and producing green energy vehicles that would ultimately complement a near-zero emission society.”

The clean crossover is part of the manufacturer’s plan of releasing a total of 31 eco-friendly products (electric, hybrid and fuel cell) — between itself and Kia — to market by 2020. For example, the compact Kona SUV will be offered in EV form next year featuring a range of 390 kilometres.

More information, including the offical name, is expected to be revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Top five manufacturer unveils at SEMA Show 2017

The SEMA Show held annually in Las Vegas typically draws more than 60,000 visitors every year.

The Speciality Equipment Market Association (SEMA) just wrapped another show in Sin City, putting on display the wildest things to come out of the auto industry both from the OEM and aftermarket sectors. OpenRoad has rounded up some mouth-watering performance dishes served up by manufacturers at this year’s event.

Toyota CH-R R-Tuned

Toyota CH-R R-Tuned

Toyota has dubbed this little crossover “the worlds quickest CUV,” which indeed pushes big power from a 2.4-litre turbocharged engine running 23 psi of boost. DG-Spec modified the CH-R to produce 600 horsepower, resulting in quicker lap times than a Porsche 911 GT3 at Willow Springs International Raceway.

Hyundai HyperEconiq Ioniq

Hyundai HyperEconiq Ioniq

The Seoul-based automaker regularly teams up with Bisimito Engineering to unveil something truly hair-raising for SEMA, like 2015’s 700-horsepower Sonata. Now, however, it’s a greener project called the HyperEconiq, a slammed, kitted-out Ioniq that achieves a combined city/highway fuel economy of 2.9 L/100 km.

Audi TT clubsport turbo concept

Audi TT clubsport turbo concept

Channelling the Audi 90 IMSA GTO racecar circa 1989, the TT clubsport turbo concept gives the coupe an entirely different look wearing boxy fenders, a manually adjustable carbon fibre polymer wing and an overall 140-millimetre wider presence. The uprated turbo motor propels the coupe from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds.

Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha concept

Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha concept

The grade-topping Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 is already considered quite quick utilizing a 400-horsepower boosted 3.0-litre V6 making 350 lb-ft of torque. But that hasn’t stopped the luxury brand from enlisting the services of AMS Performance to upgrade the intercooler, exhaust, ECU and other items — many soon to be available for purchase at dealerships and AMS distributors — increasing horsepower by 19 per cent and torque, 29 per cent.

BMW M3 30 Years American Edition

BMW M3 30 Years American Edition

A little over three decades ago, an automotive icon was born: the M3. And then one year later, the vehicle reached our shores. To commemorate the anniversary, BMW Group Designworks and BMW Individual have created the 30 Years American Edition featuring a red, white and blue colour theme and a whole bunch of M Performance parts from an adjustable suspension system to a handmade carbon fibre rear spoiler complete with racing stripes.

Best of Canadian Car of the Year 2018 program

As is the case every October, writers and broadcasters from all over Canada gathered in Clarington, Ontario last week for one reason and one reason only: the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) program. This is where some of the newest vehicles from several manufacturers were made available in one place for thoughtful evaluation – on regular roads, highways and a high-speed test track — so that the 2018 CCOTY winners can be determined. These are five of the standout models in different categories from the event.

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Plus

Hyundai Ioniq Electric Plus (Small Car)

After a successful release of the Ioniq Hybrid and Electric, Hyundai is releasing the third and final electrified variant of the platform: the Electric Plus plug-in hybrid. Offering the best of both worlds, the PHEV allows up to 40 kilometres of pure electric driving and has an onboard 1.6-litre four-cylinder internal combustion engine ready to provide assistance for longer distance trips.

2018 Infiniti Q60 Sport

Infiniti Q60 Sport (Small Premium Car)

Beautifully sculpted and boasting a trio of powertrain options, the Infiniti Q60 is a worthy successor to the much-loved G37 Coupe. Positioned smack in the middle of the trim range is the Sport, packing a silky-smooth 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 under the hood generating 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Other highlights include standard Dynamic Digital (electronic) Suspension and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

2018 Toyota Camry XSE

Toyota Camry XSE (Large Car)

As good a car as the Camry is, excitement isn’t usually the word people think of when Toyota announces a new version. The 2018 is truly another story as it has experienced a full redesign. The XSE grade is styled the most excitingly of the bunch with large blacked out central mesh grille, body kit, 19-inch machined-finish alloy wheels and features an available 301-horsepower 3.5-litre V6 engine.

2018 Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera Turbo (Large Premium Car)

This second-generation luxury sports sedan from Porsche was made to form a closer link, both in appearance and performance, to the iconic 911. With a more coupe-like roofline and front/rear fascias, the twin-turbo V8 Panamera generates 550 horsepower that will take anyone’s breath away during full acceleration. The three-piece active rear spoiler is also a thing of beauty.

2018 Honda Civic Type-R

Honda Civic Type-R (Sports-Performance Car)

Believe they hype — the first Type-R to grace North American shores is the real deal. The 306-horsepower turbocharged i-VTEC mill, Brembo brake calipers and adaptive damping suspension system should be a clue as to how the CTR was able to achieve the title of world’s fastest production front-wheel drive car at Germany’s famed Nürburgring racetrack. 

Best vehicles for Halloween candy runs

Make trick or treating go smoother this year with one of these Halloween-approved vehicles. 

Boo! It’s almost that time again to dig out the decorations and costumes for the scariest day of the year. And something else you may need is a proper vehicle for tasks such as shuttling kids to a trick or treating destination, or transporting friends and family to a Halloween party. We’ve put together a top three list of the perfect models to accompany All Hallow’s Eve.

lexus nx 200t lava orange

Lexus NX 200t F SPORT

This subcompact crossover by Lexus was built for Halloween: the gaping mesh grill, sharp headlights and metallic bumper spoiler all look like they were modelled after the alien from the Predator films. Oh, and it also comes in bright Lava Orange. Kidding aside, the NX 200t is great for candy runs since there are four compartments underneath the cargo floor to stash valuables out of sight, and lots of storage space up front in the large glove and console boxes, as well as the door pockets.

2017 hyundai elantra

Hyundai Elantra

The streets will be littered with kids and grownups alike on Oct. 31, making driving potentially more dangerous than usual. Being behind the wheel of a proven safe car — for example the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ 2017 Hyundai Elantra — would be a wise choice. In addition to performing well in crash tests, the compact car has hands-free technology for making and taking calls, and an optional automatic emergency braking system capable of detecting pedestrians.

2017 toyota sienna

Toyota Sienna

Kids can be messy — especially kids with a bag full of candy. But why wait to get home to tidying up crumbs and dirt when you can do it on the road? Toyota’s best-selling minivan now features an available on-board vacuum cleaner for on-the-go cleaning. Stowed neatly away in the rear of the vehicle, the hose can reach any part of the cabin, and the unit is operable whether the engine is on or off. Three attachments are included for getting into nooks and crannies.

Highlights from 67th Frankfurt Motor Show

The 2017 International Auto Show is happening right now in Germany, and OpenRoad has brought you some of the hottest cars on display in Frankfurt.

2018 Hyundai Kona

Hyundai Kona

Better late than never, Hyundai enters the competitive subcompact crossover arena with the introduction of the Kona. The aggressively styled four-wheel drive vehicle adopts the brand’s new Cascading Grille design, comprised of a mesh centre flanked on both sides by fender arches that bleed onto the front bumper. Powering this little SUV are two powertrains — a 2.0-litre mated to six-speed automatic, and a turbocharged 1.6-litre with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2018 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

The third generation Porsche Cayenne is serious business — it’s powered by a biturbo 4.0-litre V8 capable of getting the vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in under four seconds, and all the way up to a 286 km/h top speed. The Cayenne sits on an adjustable three-chamber air suspension system that can be adjusted to six different height levels, and the rear liftgate features a neat active spoiler inspired by its sports car siblings.

Honda Urban EV Concept

Honda Urban EV

Setting the direction for a future battery electric Honda car expected to launch in Europe in 2019, the Urban EV Concept almost resembles an ultra-futuristic version of the first Civic hatchback. Where a grille would traditionally be on the tiny hatchback is a customizable panel for displaying greetings or charging status. There is also backlit blue Honda emblem soon to be a signature item on other EVs to come.

Honda Urban EV Concept interior

The concept’s interior is simple and uncluttered. There’s seating for four, a main panoramic display screen and supplementary screens on both door panels acting as digital side mirrors.