California Energy Commission Adds $2 Million in EV Rebates, For Four-Passenger Cars Only
In a workshop earlier today, the California Air Resources Board publicly stated that the California Energy Commission will direct $2 million into the 2011 budget for clean vehicle rebates. “However it is important to note that the additional $2 million in funding will be reserved for rebates of vehicles capable of carrying four passengers and highway driving,” wrote David Almeida in an email to PluginCars.com. “So it looks like the Tesla Roadster, neighborhood electric vehicles and zero emission motorcycles are ineligible for this extra funding.”
David recently took over from Mike Ferry as the manager of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, administered by the California Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego. Mike continues his other duties as manager of the Center's transportation programs.
The ability for California to deliver on $5,000 rebates for pure EVs, and $3,000 for plug-in hybrids, depends on dwindling dollars in the fund—which are very likely to continue until 2015 (although the amounts, which come from DMV fees and smog abatements, are not absolutely guaranteed). So, where do things stand? David informs us that $1.4 million in vehicle rebates were distributed in 2010, for 213 vehicles in these categories:
- 108 Zero Emission Vehicles (incl. LEAFs, Tesla Roadsters, and a handful of Honda Clarity fuel cell cars)
- 38 Commercial Zero Emission Vehicles (from Smith, Navistar, and EVI)
- 30 Neighborhood Electric Vehicles
- 37 Zero Emission Motorcycles
Add up the $2.3 million left from 2010, the $5 million coming in second year funding, plus the Energy Commission’s $2 million contribution to produce $9.3 million in 2011 funding. The $2 million from Energy Commission provide enough money for 400 more buyers of four-passenger zero-emission vehicles to receive refunds. The other funds mean that more than 1,000 of the first EV buyers definitely will get a check in a matter of weeks after buying. (Keep in mind that the commercial vehicles qualify for up to $20,000. Staples recently put 30 Smith electric trucks into service.)
Most of this money is expected to go to the first buyers of the Nissan LEAF. David corrected a misconception that consumers need to buy, rather than lease, to receive the $5,000 rebate. The rebate is available to those who buy OR lease a zero-emission vehicle.
David also let us know that 33 applications from buyers of the Nissan LEAF have already been received—some of which have been processed and checks mailed. It’s still early to draw in major long-term conclusions about where LEAF buyers live, but according to David’s map (see picture), the Los Angeles and San Diego regions are outpacing the San Francisco Bay Area.
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