What You Can Get From Government for Getting an Electric Car in California – Part 2

Government is trying to promote electric cars. In Part 1, we looked at the Federal Tax Credit. In this article, things like the Clean Vehicle Rebate incentive, the HOV Lane Access incentive, charging infrastructure goal and news on out-of-state buyers will be covered.

Clean Vehicle Rebate. For now, you can receive $2,500 and $1,500 from the state when you buy/lease an all-electric car (EV, like a Tesla) and a plug-in hybrid electric car (PHEV, like a Chevy Volt), respectively. BMW i3 REx (with the range-extender) is eligible for $2,500 instead of $1,500, According to DriveClean.ca.gov.

One note: there does need to be funding available for the program. The program current fiscal year is 2015-2016 (Q3/2015-Q2/2016). As of 1/29, issued and reserved rebates are $31,867,753 (59% of the total fund) and there still is $22,042,247 (41% of the total fund) remaining for this fiscal year, according to the program website . Calendar-wise, we are roughly 58% into this fiscal year, so pretty much on pace to use up the fund by the end of Q2.

Another recent news is that the EV and PHEV rebate program will put an income cap on eligibility for higher-income consumers and increase the rebate for lower-income buyers. The implementation date is expected to be mid-March of this year and will be announced 2 weeks at least ahead on the program website.

The gross annual income cap is $250,000 for single filers, $340,000 for head-of-household filers and $500,000 for joint filers. Incomes exceeding these thresholds will not be eligible for receiving the rebates. On the other hand, if household gross incomes are no more than 300% of the federal poverty level, the buyers will receive $1,500 more than the current numbers after the adjustment.

Details on the future changes can be found at https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/information-fiscal-year-2015-16-income-limit-changes. In addition, the rebate covers fuel cell cars as well.

HOV Lane (Carpool Lane) Access. There are two categories: White Clean Air Vehicles (where EVs belong) and Green Clean Air Vehicles (where PHEVs and BMW i3 REx belong). These cars can apply for decals so they can use carpool lane during morning and afternoon rush hours, even if there is only the driver in the car.

(Update 4/13/2018: California has started to issue a new Red decals, as the white and green ones are set to expire on 1/1/2019. The red decal is good until 1/1/2022. EV and PHEV owners who made the purchase between 1/1/2017 and 12/31/2018 are qualified for the red decal.)

Charging infrastructure construction. This is critical to the adoption of electric cars. One of California’s zero-emission vehicle goals is by 2020 to build adequate infrastructure for 1 million such vehicles. For example, the Governor announced $120 million settlement back in 2012 to fund 200 fast-charging stations and 10,000 plug-in systems at 1,000 locations. Moreover, in Oct. 2015, the Governor signed a bill to simplify the permitting process on EV charging system installation across the state.

Out-of-state Buyers. It may soon come true for out-of-state customers to stop paying sales tax for buying cars manufactured in California, like from Tesla. The hope is to attract people to come to the state and pick up their new cars in person. The Senate passed the bill on Jan 27 and the Assembly is next.

(Ford Focus Electric. Credit: Ford)
(Ford Focus Electric. Credit: Ford)

To repeat what is in Part 1, you can end up paying less for an electric car and enjoy some privileges. For example, 2016 Chevy Volt PHEV has an MSRP of $33,995, but you can get $9,000 off ($7,500 federal tax credit and $1,500 state rebate). Then the price will be around $25k. As another example, 2016 Ford Focus all-electric car, MSPR is $29,170, but you are eligible for $7,500 tax credit and another $2,500 state rebate. So the out-of-the-pocket price can be below $20k. There are incentive details on more cars on DriveClean.ca.gov . Also please check out our homepage for date on electo-range and fast charging of electric cars.

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