Ontario is hoping rebates of up to $10,000 will push people into buying electric cars.

The plan will give buyers of plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars rebates between $4,000 and $10,000 for vehicles purchased after July 1, 2010. The government wants one out of every 20 cars in Ontario to be electric by 2020.

Incentives include special licence plates that allow drivers to use car pool lanes even with one person in the car, access to public charging facilities and parking at government and GO Transit stations.

The plan was quickly criticized as another investment in General Motors.

“By bribing consumers to buy electric the government is indirectly diverting resources from potentially more promising technologies,” industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers said.

DesRosiers took issue with the government’s argument that Ontario may get more assembly jobs. General Motors said yesterday its Chevy Volt will initially be built in Detroit.

Stephen Beatty, Toyota Canada’s managing director, said he would have preferred to wait for the results of market tests to determine the viability of plug-in hybrids.