The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is making additional clean vehicle rebates available for lower-income consumers. A cornerstone of CARB’s suite of EV-purchase incentives, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) is the nation’s largest and longest-running EV incentive program.
CVRP offers standard rebates of $1,000 to $4,500 for the purchase or lease of a new eligible plug-in hybrid or zero-emission vehicle. An additional $2,500 rebate is available to low- and moderate-income households at or below 400% of the federal poverty level.
CVRP set aside $25 million for the $2,500 increased rebates for low- and moderate-income households for Fiscal Year 2019-20. That allocation was exhausted on 5 February 2021. To continue support for new EV purchases and leases by low- and moderate-income car shoppers, CARB is dedicating an additional $25 million, or half of the remaining CVRP funds, to ensure that the $2,500 increased rebates remain funded into fall 2021.
According to data compiled by CVRP administrator Center for Sustainable Energy, the program has awarded 65,949 rebates to low- and moderate-income Californians and those living in disadvantaged and low-income communities over the past four years.
Since 2016, when CVRP instituted income caps for applicants and created increased rebates for lower income-qualified consumers, 34% of rebate funding, or $182.9 million, has gone to lower-income applicants and those living in disadvantaged communities. The percentage grew last year to 38%.
Essential to CVRP’s efforts to reach out to diverse communities statewide is a team of multilingual equity specialists and a Community Partners Network of 28 community-based organizations.
To accelerate consumer EV adoption, CVRP also is expanding its Rebate Now program, which allows qualifying low- and moderate-income car shoppers to get their rebate at the showroom instead of waiting for a check in the mail. They can prequalify online, then use their rebate as a down payment at the point of sale or lease. CVRP Rebate Now has been available for three years in San Diego County as a pilot program and in April will extend into eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley, with a specific focus of providing rebates to lower-income car shoppers.
Low- and moderate-income consumers may also qualify for CARB’s other clean transportation equity programs, including Clean Cars 4 All, which offers up to $9,500 for scrapping an older car and replacing it with an EV, and the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program, which offers grants of up to $5,000 to pay for a plug-in EV and access to affordable financing. In November 2020, CARB also instituted the California Clean Fuel Reward program that offers all EV purchasers up to $1,500 off the vehicle cost at the point of sale.
Initiated in 2010, CVRP has awarded over 401,900 rebates totaling more than $918,396,700. Nearly 65% of all EVs on California roadways received a CVRP incentive.