California to Make Electric Cars Affordable to Low-Income Buyers

By · September 22, 2014

Chevy Volt in California HOV lane

With enhanced rebates and other perks, California intends to increase ownership of electrics cars, like the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF, among low-income people.

Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed several bills Sunday to encourage sales of electric cars. The legislation is specifically designed to make electric cars more affordable for low-income residents.

Under the legislation, the California Air Resources Board will be asked to draft a plan to modify the state’s plug-in rebate program for low-income car buyers. Since 2010, the program has issued more than 75,000 rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Critics argue that incentives for EVs mostly help affluent drivers. The average income of an electric car driver exceeds $100,000.

Currently, EV buyers receive a rebate of $2,500 for the purchase of light-duty zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The new plan is expected to give additional credits to low-income drivers, some of which might require an agreement to scrap older polluting cars.

The Charge Ahead California Initiative by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), sets a goal of placing at least 1 million zero-emission vehicles and near-zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by Jan. 1, 2023.

Gov. Brown also signed Sunday legislation to install charging stations for electric vehicles in apartment buildings in low-income neighborhoods. In addition, the number of owners of plug-in hybrids granted green HOV stickers to drive solo in carpool lanes will modestly increase to 70,000. There is no limit on the number of white carpool stickers available to buyers of pure electric cars.

California already leads the country in EV adoption, with about 40 percent of all electric cars in the country. It is estimated that more than 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in California, since the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF in late 2010.

“We face an existential challenge with the changes in our climate,” said Brown. “The time to act is now, the place to look is California. We’re not finished, but we sure are setting the pace.”

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
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  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
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