California state senator Kevin De Leon’s initiative to alter the California EV rebate system to provide more support to low-income car buyers and place an income cap on incentives came one step closer to law this week.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee supports the initiative, which passed with a majority of bipartisan support in the state senate back in May.
“We need many more electric vehicles on the road, and we also need to ensure that every Californian gets a fair chance to enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles,” said Vien Truong, Environmental Equity Director of The Greenlining Institute. “That’s what Charge Ahead California is all about,” Truong said.
“Four in ten Californians live near a highway or other busy road, more than any other state,” said Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment California. “If our roads were instead filled with zero-emission vehicles, it would dramatically improve the lives of millions of Californians who are already suffering from asthma and other pollution impacts,” Kinman said.
The gist of the program is to provide incentives for lower and middle-income California residents to swap over to EVs. De Leon has proposed a $1,500 credit for turning in older, high-polluting vehicles in addition to the $2,500 rebate. Lower income residents could apply for another $3,000 of aid under the program, for a total of $7,000 in state aid. Add to that the $7,500 Federal tax credit, and low-income car buyers could take $14,500 off the price of a car like the Nissan LEAF, which starts around $29,000. That’s a 50% of the MSRP, right there.
The program would also place an income cap on the incentives, aimed at reducing the criticism that such programs only benefit the wealthy. But with EVs and plug-in hybrids still remaining higher-priced than most, will this increase the number of green car buyers, or reduce it? What do you think of these changes to the California EV rebate program?