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Nissan LEAF Charging California EVgo CleanTechnica, Kyle Field

Air Quality

California Offers Up To $9,500 To Purchase Used Or New Electric Vehicle, Focus On Lower-Income Motorists

I understand income barriers. So, bravo to California for helping those who want to change afford to change. California’s new electric vehicle (EV) incentives for the lower income help them improve air quality and fight climate change by going electric. They can now get $9,500 in EV incentives in certain regions, or even $14,000 if you add in state incentives and all requirements are met.

I understand income barriers. So, bravo to California for helping those who want to change afford to change. California’s new electric vehicle (EV) incentives for the lower income help them improve air quality and fight climate change by going electric. They can now get $9,500 in EV incentives in certain regions, or even $14,000 if you add in state incentives and all requirements are met.

Lawmakers in California want to ensure that electric vehicles are accessible to all. In particular, the incentives in this case focus on lower-income motorists in disadvantaged communities. The scheme help to protect the fresh air in those neighborhoods in two ways. With this incentive program, participants must also rid themselves and all of us of it of an older, polluting vehicle — scrap it altogether.

Nissan LEAF charging in California at an EVgo station. Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

Moving California” shares more information:

The Clean Cars 4 All program (formerly known as the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Plus-Up Program – EFMP+) helps get lower-income consumers into cleaner technology vehicles by retiring their older, higher-polluting vehicle and upgrading to a cleaner vehicle. Participants also have the option to replace their older vehicle for alternative mobility options such as public transit passes. The program is limited to vehicle owners residing in participating air districts, and those who meet income and vehicle requirements.”

The incentives are up to a whopping $9,500 towards the purchase of a new or used plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), fully battery electric vehicle (BEV), or fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV).

I appreciate the second choice as well: if you decide to go car free, you can choose up to $7,500 in incentives to access public, private, and shared mobility options. And here is something you really don’t see that often: “The highest incentive amount under this program is for participants with the lowest income, living in a disadvantaged community, and that choose the cleanest vehicle technology.”

The Clean Cars 4 All program + eligibility

The program is implemented through participating air districts. Eligibility and incentive amounts are based on your household income level, where you reside, and the replacement vehicle you choose.

For more information related to program specifics and eligibility, please visit participating air district official program pages:

California has many highways producing rather large air quality problems, but the state has been working to reverse this longstanding problem for quite some time. California also has a history of incentive programs to do away with older, more polluting vehicles. Assembly Bill 630 by Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) was passed in 2017 and established the Clean Cars 4 All program, thanks to modifying an existing program. The existing program included “scrap and replace.” The program originated due to landmark legislation passed in 2007.

Moving California is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.”

An electric San Francisco MTA transit bus from New Flyer. Photo courtesy SFMTA.

The legislative body is walking the talk with direct aid to replace pollution-blowing older cars with cleaner cars or providing money for another clean mobility option.

While $7,500 is available for regional public transit systems, there’s also an electric bike and bikeshare option in 2020 —  “with the signing of Senate Bill 400 by State Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D – Orange County), participants will be able to broaden their options next year by purchasing electric bikes and bike-share memberships.”

Bay Area

“The Clean Cars for All program in the Bay Area started in March and has assisted nearly 200 people who were driving old beaters, including some that date to the 1980s,” said Rebecca Fisher with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District that is administering the program.

Rachel Swan’s article about the program offers a personal glimpse into the experience of Ignacio Hernandez, an East Oakland resident who purchased a 2016 Ford C-Max Energi, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, with the help of a $9,500 grant from the program. He did have to completely scrap his 1996 Toyota Camry.

As an extra program boost, participants can be awarded up to $2,000 for EV chargers. With that, why not start now to join the plug-in life. It’s a kinder one.


“The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District held a media launch for its Clean Cars 4 All program on August 7 in Sacramento. The full start comes in early 2020,” Planetizen writes.

Gooddaysacramento, CBS 13 reported: “It has about $5 million to dole out to approximately 400 people. Their goal is to get gas guzzlers off the road. But the catch? Your car has to be functioning and at least 15 years old. According to the DMV, nine million cars that drive on California roads are 15 years or older.”

The CBS affiliate included a news video in its report on the new program.

Getting the $9,500 maximum + other federal & state incentives can = $14,000

Aside from the subsidies notes above, low- and moderate-income consumers can be eligible for a $2,500 state rebate bonus for a new EV, on top of the standard $2,000 rebate for battery-electric vehicles. Eligibility is based on federal poverty levels. $14,000 in subsidies can sure help you to get a good EV.

Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica

Used BMW i3 in the mountains. After my trip from the Appalachians of North Carolina — crossing 4 states in 2 days in a used BMW i3 REx with only 71 miles of electric range and a small gas backup, I understand the value of a good used EV. Photo by Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica.

Related Stories:

Fact vs. Fiction: Public Perception Of Used EVs vs. The Facts

The Sierra Club’s Nationwide Study On The EV Shopping Experience

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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)


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