Coltura Paper Accepted at World EV SymposiumJune 14, 2020
ELECTRIC CAR RANGES: AN OVERVIEWAugust 17, 2020
There are many statewide and local incentives to driving EVs. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Program 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.
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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 continues to have some of the worst air quality in the country. For 2019, 2020 and 2021, of the eleven US counties with the worst combined short-term particle pollution, ozone, and long-term particle pollution levels, ten were in California. 9 in 10 Californians live in areas with polluted air. California cities claim the top four spots of U.S. cities with the most Particulate matter. And in terms of ozone pollution, Los Angeles is the most polluted city in the nation, just as it has been for 23 of the last 24 years. Much 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.
On top of this, California is one of the 16 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). Because of recent regulation, by 2026, all automakers must have at least 35% ZEV sales.
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
Last Updated: June 2023
The standard rebate for most Californians for the purchase or lease of an electric vehicle is $2,000. And if your household income is less than or equal to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, the EV rebate increases up to $5,500 over the general rebate.
A good rule of thumb for people thinking of purchasing an EV:
And EV lease deals in California can be very affordable — many for $9 or $10/day.
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 90 days of the vehicle purchase or lease date.
- You can also get pre-approved for a rebate. In this case, you can choose to apply the rebate to the price of the vehicle or get the rebate check mailed to you.
- Many buyers join a waiting list for months at a time.
- 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 rebate will come as a check mailed to you within 90 days of an approved application.
- The odometer reading must be below 7,500 miles at the time of purchase or lease.
- Consumers are limited to one EV rebate in a lifetime.
- Vehicles costing more than $60,000 won’t qualify.
- 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 $135,000 for single filers, $175,000 for head–of–household filers and $200,000 for joint filers.
- If your income is higher than this, you can still qualify for a Clean Air Vehicle sticker. Read more below.
Clean Air Vehicle Sticker
Another great statewide incentive is the Clean Air Vehicle sticker. This sticker lets you 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.
Incentives for Low and Moderate Income Californians
Aside from the CVRP increased rebate, there are other local incentives for income-qualifying Californians. For example, if you have an older vehicle to trade in, four California areas participate in different versions of a program called Clean Cars 4 All. These programs give funding to replace older polluting cars with clean electric vehicles. In each of the four programs, you can get up to $9,500.
- South Coast area, including Los Angeles: Replace Your Ride.
- Bay Area: Clean Cars for All
- San Joaquin Valley: Drive Clean in the San Joaquin
- Sacramento area: Clean Cars 4 All
There are also updates coming soon. San Diego is becoming the fifth area with a CC4A program. LA is increasing the highest amount to $12,000. If you live outside of these areas, but are still hoping to electrify your ride, there are proposals to expand this into a statewide program. Not only that, but the current Cash for Clunkers program can help. Simply trade in an older, polluting vehicle for cash — which you can then put towards a new ride!
You could also qualify for a loan or grant from the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program.
- Their goal is to provide “grants and affordable financing to help income-qualified Californians purchase or lease a new or used hybrid or electric vehicle” – they basically provide grants and loans.
- You need to get approved before you purchase your vehicle.
- For the grants: when program requirements are met, grants do not need to be repaid.
- It can also include a home charging station with installation support.
There are also low-income household discounts of 18% to 20% 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.
How To Find California Local EV Incentives
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 so you can charge your EV while there.
How To Find EV Incentives In CA For Your Zip Code
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These can include more rebates such as:
- Customers of Southern California Edison (SCE), the main electricity supply company for most of Southern California, can apply for up to a $4,000 rebate with the Pre-Owned Vehicle Rebate Program.
- For income-eligible PG&E customers, PG&E will provide up to $2,500 in financial incentives.
- Through the Peninsula Clean Energy DriveForward Electric Program, income-qualifying San Mateo County residents could be eligible for an incentive of up to $4,000 (and other residents up to $1,000) for purchasing a used electric vehicle.
- Discounted tolls, special loans, low-cost home charging rates and electric utilities incentives, etc.
You can also calculate your savings here
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 ⅓ to ½ the cost of gasoline.
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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