Plug In America Applauds Launch of CA’s EV Rebates

“Large or small, flashy or practical, plug-in vehicles reduce our dependence on petroleum and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The state is making a wise investment in our future.”
–Jay Friedland, legislative director, Plug In America

Plug In America applauds the new California state rebate program for all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The nonprofit advocacy group worked intensely over the past year to make the program of maximum benefit to consumers, who could receive a $5,000 rebate for purchasing an electric car such as Nissan’s Leaf, due in December.

“Our mission has always been to help consumers adopt clean plug-in electric vehicles and hefty rebates are the best possible way to get these electric cars out of the showroom and onto the road,” said Plug In America legislative director Jay Friedland.

"We applaud the California Air Resources Board for the leadership it is demonstrating with this program," Friedland said. "Large or small, flashy or practical, plug-in electric vehicles reduce our dependence on petroleum and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The state is making a wise investment in our future."

Under the Air Resources Board’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, eligible vehicles purchased or leased after March 15 can receive the following rebates until the program’s funding runs out: $5,000 for passenger EVs; $3,000 for plug-in electric hybrids; $1,500 for electric motorcycles; up to $1,500 for Neighborhood Electric Vehicles; and up to $20,000 for commercial EVs such as delivery trucks.

The new rebate, coupled with a $7,500 federal stimulus tax credit, could cut the cost of a new Nissan Leaf by $12,500. That could bring the sticker price down to $20,000 or less in California, if media reports of the car’s expected selling price prove accurate.

The Leaf is among a short list of the program’s initially eligible vehicles, which also includes plug-ins from Smith Electric, EVI, Tesla Motors, GEM, Miles Electric Vehicles and Zero Motorcycles. The list is expected to grow as other manufacturers debut plug-in vehicles later this year and in 2011.

Plug In America, which helped to roughly double the program’s total funding to $4.1 million, actively engaged with the state agency through public testimony and workshop presentations designed to shape the policy. The organization’s Plug-In Vehicle Tracker provided valuable guidance on vehicle selection. Its members urged air regulators to offer generous rebates to all classes of vehicles and spoke against incentivizing demonstration-only programs and short-term leases.

“We wanted to make sure that these incentives would get cars on the road and keep them on the road,” said Plug In America president Dan Davids.

The Air Resources Board, whose Clean Vehicle Rebate Project is financed through AB 118 alternative fuels legislation, has already committed to additional funding to continue the program through 2015, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy, which will administer the rebates.

Plug In America is leading the nation’s plug-in vehicle movement. The nonprofit organization works to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation’s dependence on petroleum and improve the global environment.