California Assemblymember Phil Ting (D — San Francisco, District 19) recently introduced AB 1046, which if passed would triple the EV rebate in California from $2500 to $7500. It would also change how the incentive is funded. (Ting has also worked on AB 1424 a bill related to EV charging station access.)
Ting owns and drives an EV as well — find out which one below. He generously agreed to answer some questions about the proposed legislation for CleanTechnica.
1. Why triple the CA EV rebate from $2500 to $7500?
The federal tax credit is as high as $7,500, depending on a customer’s tax liability. Two auto manufacturers, Tesla and General Motors, have already reached the federal cap (200,000 vehicles), and the credit is quickly ramping down. Now is time to double down on supporting the transition to clean cars, not reduce incentives. My bill, AB 1046, requires the State Air Resources Board (ARB) to outline an incentive structure that increases the rebates now, then reduces it over time. The goal is to incentivize drivers to purchase a clean car sooner rather than later and create a predictable, self-sustaining marketplace when the incentives end. California needs this aggressive push in order to meet the goal of five million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2030 set by then-Governor Brown through an Executive Order in 2018.
2. If it is raised to $7500, would a CA resident who purchased a new EV also be eligible to receive the federal tax credit?
Yes. The credits are stackable, as long as customers meet the criteria for each program.
3. Why are you interested in supporting electric vehicles?
I’m interested in clean cars because of our climate crisis. I also want to see California achieve its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. But we are headed in the wrong direction. A September 2017 ARB report found emissions from the transportation sector increased after 2013. And a key finding in another ARB report the following year confirmed California will likely fall short in meeting its GHG reduction goals for 2020; a major factor is an increase in passenger vehicle travel miles per capita and a corresponding increase in CO2 emissions per capita. Since the transportation sector accounts for nearly 40% of GHG pollution in California, we have to look at the vehicles you and I drive. We must do more to accelerate the adoption of clean cars. With cars and light-duty trucks making up 75% of the transportation sector’s emissions, ZEVs are a critical tool in the fight to decrease our contribution to global warming and improve public health. As of July 5, 2019, there are approximately 613,000 ZEVs on our state’s roadways. That’s a long way from our goal of 5 million. I hope bigger rebates will motivate more people to give up their gas-powered vehicles.
3. Do you drive one yourself?
I’ve driven a Chevy Bolt for the last two years. With a range of about 240 miles on a single charge, I use it to drive back and forth from San Francisco to the State Capitol in Sacramento a few times a week during the legislative year. That’s roughly 200 miles roundtrip. I already have more than 50,000 miles on it.
4. Where did the goal to have 1.5 million EVs on California highways and roads by 2025 come from?
The goal was set through an Executive Order by then-Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. But in 2018, he subsequently increased it to five million ZEVs by 2030.
5. Do you support clean, renewable energy like solar and wind power as well?
Yes, I support clean, renewable energy and supported legislation that transitions California’s electric supply to 100% renewable and carbon free by 2045. Earlier in my career as San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder, I created a program called GoSolarSF, which dramatically increased rooftop solar installations during my tenure.
6. What is the current source of funding for the EV rebate program and what might it be switched to?
The current Clean Vehicle Rebate Project is funded annually through the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which is funded by the proceeds from Cap-and-Trade auctions. We anticipate the Legislature will continue to fund the program through this account. My bill, AB 1046, which will increase rebates, requires the state ARB to look at a range of existing funding sources and consider securitizing revenues, such as through a bond. This will allow the state to pay back the funds over time. Having the money available upfront means customers don’t have to be put on a wait list. The program is currently funded year-to-year, and when all the rebates are claimed, a wait list forms and checks are delayed until the Legislature funds the program again the following year.
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