The Electric Vehicle Rebate In California And Other Incentives

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The EV rebate in California offers a huge incentive to drive EVs - but it’s not the only one. In addition to the rebate, you should look into other federal, state and local incentives. Read on to find out how.

First Off, Why Are There EV Incentives In California?

There are several reasons why California offers incentives to replace fossil fuel cars with EVs.

California was ranked dead last for 17 of 18 years for air quality by the American Lung Association. This was before the recent wildfires. Today, it continues to be the worst state for air quality. On top of that, 80% of Californians live in areas with unhealthy air. A lot of this is caused by the ozone (smog) and particle pollution from vehicle emissions.

California is also committed to making the switch from gasoline to electric to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030, and reaching carbon neutrality by 2045.

And, California is one of the 11 states that participate in the ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicles) Program, which requires that automakers ensure that a certain percent of all vehicles they sell in the state are ZEVs. (ZEVs are mostly electric vehicles, but can also be hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.) Currently the requirement is for 2.5% ZEVs.

So be sure to take advantage of incentives. By driving an EV instead of a gasoline-powered car, you’re doing a service for the environment and the health of other Californians.

The California EV Rebate Overview

The rebate for most Californians for purchase or lease of an electric vehicle can be up to $5,000 depending on the vehicle -- and even more for low income residents. A good rule of thumb: $5,000 for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), $2,500 for battery electric vehicles, $1,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and $900 for zero emission motorcycles.

You can search for the vehicle and then apply for the rebate.

Currently, there are many EV rebate funds available. And EV lease deals in California can be very affordable — $5/day or less. So tell your family and friends in California - more people should be driving EVs!

EV Rebate in California Key Points

  • Rebates come in the form of a check, and are available for purchases or leases.

  • You can apply within 18 months of the vehicle purchase or lease date.

    • You can also get pre-approved for a rebate.

  • The vehicle needs to be registered as new in California.

    • It can’t be purchased, leased, or delivered out of state.

  • The lease term needs to be for at least 30 months.

  • The odometer reading must be below 7,500 miles at the time of purchase or lease.

  • Higher income consumers in general are not eligible for the rebate.

    • This income cap applies to all eligible vehicle types other than fuel-cell EVs.

    • It is currently $150,000 for single filers, $204,000 for head–of–household filers and $300,000 for joint filers.

EV Rebate For Low and Moderate Income Californians

The EV rebate increases by $2,000 over and above the general rebate for low and moderate income Californians. You’re eligible if your household income is less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

The increased rebates are for fuel-cell electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Note that you’re not eligible if you’re claimed as a dependent.

Bay Area low income residents may also be eligible for funding to replace older polluting cars with clean electric vehicles.

There are also low-income household discounts of 12% to 30% on your household electric bill through the CARE and FERA programs that can help with vehicle charging. You can enroll here if you have not already.

Other EV Incentives In California

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Beyond the rebate, there are other statewide, local and utility incentives.

Some of the statewide EV incentive highlights in California:

  • High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane Exemption

    • You can get a Clean Air Vehicle sticker. You can then use HOV lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. Your vehicle is also then eligible for reduced rates or exemptions from toll charges for HOT lanes.

  • The Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Loan and Rebate Program

    • Small businesses in California can get incentives to help with the design, development, purchase, and installation of EVSE. It’s a great idea to encourage businesses you frequent or your workplace to look into this program.

How To Find EV Incentives For Your Zip Code

Beyond the statewide EV incentives, you might be able to find some local or utility EV incentives as well. These can include more rebates, special loans, low-cost home charging rates, etc..

Simply enter your zip code here:

California EV Incentives

Don’t Forget About The Federal Electric Vehicle Credit

You might also qualify for up to a $7,500 tax credit from the federal government. Combined with the CA incentives, your savings could be huge. Get more info on the Electric Vehicle Federal Tax Credit.

EVs Are Affordable With Or Without Incentives

Incentives certainly help, but many EVs already cost less than equivalent gas cars over their lifetimes due to cheaper fuel and less maintenance. Per mile, electricity is already ¼ to ½ the cost of gasoline. California has some of the cheapest EV lease deals in the country.

You can charge EVs at home overnight and even find free EV charging stations near you. And just think about how great it will be to never have to go to a gas station again.

California EV Tax Credits & Incentives Conclusion

By driving an EV, you’re keeping our air cleaner and our climate healthier. You’re benefiting other Californians. You deserve to take advantage of these incentives and feel great about driving your EV.

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