The California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project provides a rebate of up to $7,000 when a California resident who is eligible for the program buys or leases a new all-electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel-cell electric vehicle. Eligibility for the program is dependent on the applicant’s income. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project is funded by the California Air Resources Board and managed by the Center for Sustainable Energy. Melanie Turner, a public information officer with the California Air Resources Board, answered some questions for CleanTechnica about the program.
1. Is the rebate available in all of California or only in certain parts?
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project is a statewide program.
2. Is it only for lower-income California residents?
The program provides consumers with vehicle rebates on a first-come, first-served basis for new passenger plug-in hybrid, battery-electric, and fuel cell-electric vehicles. The program is available to California residents who meet income eligibility requirements, and California-based businesses. Consumers with household incomes that are less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for an increased rebate amount.
3. Is it for all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles both for purchase and leasing?
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project offers rebates for eligible zero-emission and plug-in hybrid electric light-duty vehicles for purchase or lease. For a complete list of eligible vehicles, visit: https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/eligible-vehicles
4. Is it only for new vehicles?
Yes. The program is for new, eligible light-duty plug-in hybrid or battery-electric vehicles.
5. Which organization or organizations are backing the program?
CVRP is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health — particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Center for Sustainable Energy administers the program on behalf of the California Air Resources Board.
6. Is the goal to replace older more polluting vehicles with zero-emission and very low emission vehicles?
CVRP promotes clean vehicle adoption in California by offering rebates of up to $7,000 for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission vehicles, including electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicles.
California is leading the nation in clean vehicle adoption with more plug-in electric vehicles on its roadways than any other state. This shift away from gasoline and diesel brings many environmental and economic benefits, including less air pollution and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The rebates are working. California consumers are applying for clean-vehicle rebates at a record pace as demand for the cleanest vehicles on the market skyrocketed in 2018, and demand has continued. Electric vehicle rebates in California were 50 percent higher in 2018 than 2017.
7. How long will the program run?
The California Air Resources Board strives to provide standard rebates throughout the year, however it is difficult to predict demand and balance that with the budget. This leads to the possibility of funds running out before the year is up. However, CARB does prioritize CVRP funding to ensure that increased rebates for low- and moderate-income consumers are available year-round.
8. How many applicants have there been so far?
For the life of the project (between March 2010 and March 2019), more than 319,000 rebates, totaling more than $720 million in rebate funding, have been issued. (You can track the data here: https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/rebate-statistics)
9. Why operate such a program?
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project is one of several California Air Resources Board incentive programs designed to reduce air pollution and protect public health. These programs that help to promote clean-vehicle adoption are part of California’s comprehensive strategy for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, the state’s largest source of air pollution and climate-changing gases.
California simply cannot meet its climate or clean-air goals — including health-based air quality standards required by the U.S. EPA — without transforming and cleaning up all our cars and trucks with an emphasis on putting these ultra-clean vehicles in the communities that need them the most.