California Limits Clean Vehicle Rebates Based On Household Income

SEP 3 2015 BY MARK KANE 37

BMW i8

BMW i8

California is changing state rebates for electric and hybrid cars (up to $2,500 for BEVs and $5,000 for hydrogen fuel cell cars).

In the version of guidelines expected in early 2016, rebates will depend on income, because the program was criticized “as a taxpayer handout to the wealthy“.

To qualify for rebates, one would need to earn less than $250,000 or $500,000 for couples. Average household income in California is just over $60,000.

“Money for the subsidies comes from a surcharge on vehicle registration fees and a portion of the smog fee paid by California motorists. There were no income limits for the subsidy when the program was enacted in 2010.”

“Since its start, the program has provided $242 million in rebates to 114,702 people who bought or leased electric or hybrid cars.”

Because only around 6% of rebate recipients in California had household incomes of at least $500,000, according to survey made by Center for Sustainable Energy, the thought is that changing the rebate program won’t have much impact.

Some call for a higher income cap. For example, a cap at $200,000 would cut another 28% (total 34%). 43% fall into the $100,000-199,999 range and 23% under $100,000. Anyways, for now there is $500,000 on the table as the $400,000 proposition was rejected.

“There are a good number of people for whom the rebates were not the driver of that purchase,” said Michelle Kinman, an advocate for Environment California, part of a coalition that supports the program to help people who cannot afford a clean vehicle. “They would have made the purchase without the rebates.”

Full list of cars eligible for Clean Vehicle Rebates is found here.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Categories: General

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37 Comments on "California Limits Clean Vehicle Rebates Based On Household Income"

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They seem to he very concerned about being fair and not giving too many tax breaks to wealthy families. Except if it is a fuel cell vehicle then it’s ok for wealthy families.

Well, CA has given 4+years of EV rebates to wealthy families already. Perhaps, when FCEV rebates approach that 4 year total, then CA will reduce it too.

They have been giving the same rebates to the Honda Clarity and the Hyundai Tucson fuel cell as well over the last 4 years. Those vehicles are for lease only but the leasee still gets the rebate bringing their monthly lease price down.

Either way the legislation says nothing about volume or that FCV have a cap on their sales before the incentives are eliminated according to the same rules as other alternative fueled vehicles.

CNG vehicles don’t sell nearly as much as EVs but they are also losing their incentives for those that make too much.

The headline that reads “California Limits Clean Vehicle Rebates Based On Household Income” should say “California Limits All Clean Vehicle Rebates but Hydrogen Based On Household Income”

That’s the real headline.

There are a good number of people for whom the rebates were not the driver of that purchase,” said Michelle Kinman, an advocate for Environment California, part of a coalition that supports the program to help people who cannot afford a clean vehicle. “They would have made the purchase without the rebates.”

But the wealthier families do need the rebates for HFCVs? Then it’s not really about the money but about promoting one specific alternative energy technology.

I don’t agree with limiting the rebates based on a household income cap. If it is important to the environment to promote alternative fuels then it shouldn’t matter who gets the rebates. But even more ridiculous than that is the fact that Hydrogen vehicles get twice the rebate as BEVs. What’s up with that? Why spend more money to promote a technology that is clearly more expensive and less efficient?

Rightofthepeople, Toyota and the big oil companies are behind that. It makes no sense!

Maybe they figure if you are smart enough to earn $250K a year you aren’t dumb enough to buy a hydrogen car. Then again there are a lot of morons in Hollywood.

Are any other California tax credits/rebates based on household income?

Based on income and what type of house you own.

We weren’t able to get the EVSE deduction, and we are at less than $200K as a couple

I wouldn’t be complaining. You are very fortunate to be making that much. My wife and I make way less than half that amount together. I bought both of our EVSE from Lowes at full price with no rebate either. Although we did qualify for the $7500 federal credit twice! And i got a federal tax credit for my Zero motorcycle and my converted Geo Metro i built in 2008. You make plenty enough to buy his and hers Model S without any credit at all. I’m all for lowering the credit to only people making less than $100k combined.

Its too bad the rebates are limited to 2 EV rebates per person lifetime. I have 2 EVs and I plan on replacing them with EVs not ICE vehicles. The rebates were a big part of helping offset the down payment for me.

The 2 per lifetime I believe only counts cars bought from 1 January 2015.

Yes I know. I have a 2012 LEAF that is up from lease in the next few months, and a 2014 Focus. I plan on replacing both with EVs again. Then I will have reached my maximum limit. Hope they revise this situation. Because of the obvious changing technology, low resale values, etc…leasing makes more sense at this time. Because of that, in a two EV car household, the limit would be reached relatively soon.

We leased our 2015 e-Golf in my wife’s name for this reason. Spread around the rebates!

Is it per person or per household?

Oh I forgot that this is the demonize the wealthy blog.

It’s called “Redirection”.
They want to redirect the fact that the initial method these dumb politicians decided on was Fukin stupid.

So now they want to make a play on words and pretend they care for the lower income and bash the upper income to “Redirect” the truth.

Who demonized the wealthy?

The demand for electric cars is definitely being driven by higher income types. At the gym I go to there are always a couple of Teslas in the small parking lot. Sometimes an i8 along with a Volt or an ELR or a Fiat 500e. Don’t think I’ve ever seen Leaf though I’ve seen one driving to and from.

Anyway, the point is that trying to make is that getting lower income people into electric cars is going to be a challenge. In part this is because of mindshare, in part because plugs may not be readily available, but mostly because they’re going to apply a higher discount rate to the cost savings.

Sure, but having the rich buy them now is great. That makes the EVs cool cars to aspire to. Tesla has turned EVs from golf carts into highly desired luxury cars with supercar acceleration.

No argument on the point that having electrics be aspirational is a good thing.

My point was that lower income people are more concerned with the monthly payments, so rebates and credits that occur distant from the sale or lease are not likely to affect purchase decisions. A related idea is that they won’t factor in running costs and they may also not have access to 240v charging.

I suddenly realize the rationale behind the survey questions I received after applying for the California rebate, where there was a section focused on whether the California rebate was a primary driver of the purchase. I’m now trying to remember if they also asked for my income range.

Nah. They’ve been asking that since 2011, maybe even 2010. Plus the legislation wasn’t backed by CARB.

I think CARB is genuinely interested in whether the rebates work, which should be fairly obvious. For a Tesla “no”. For a Leaf, “likely”.

CA is run by idiots.
Why even *HAVE* a cutoff point?
Why can’t it be available to EVERYONE?!?!?!?

If they were smart, and they’re not, they would make the rebate change to an incentive at point of sale. That would spur a little more incentive.

But CA is run by idiots.

Because the size of the fund is limited and this will result in MORE evs being sold since the really rich don’t use the subsidy in their buying decision.

Good rule change. This still lets wealthy people get the subsidy but not the super wealthy.

Absurd. At best misguided; at worst, this is a result of successful lobbying by those who see Tesla as a threat to their business, and want change to rules so that the rebate helps Tesla much less than most other EV makers.

The purpose of tax rebates used to stimulate development of “green” tech is not to redistribute wealth; the intent is to “prime the pump” for early adopter tech. You don’t do that by picking and choosing which taxpayers get a benefit. Heck, there’s already too much of that. As I recall, one of the InsideEVs editors says he can’t qualify for the $7500 federal tax rebate.

As has been said, the way to properly use tax money to promote EV sales would be with a direct rebate at time of purchase, not with this awkward setup where you may, or may not, qualify for a tax rebate when it comes time to figure out how much you owe in taxes for the previous year.

So this new rule in California is making an already bad situation worse.

No, it is a good change. It takes away the “you are subsidizing toys for millionaires” talking point that could have been used to effectively kill the entire program. The couple making 1/2 million per year is not going to change their buying decision on a $2500 check.

Exactly – the high limits show that the legislation is a PR stunt for politicians to save face without actually doing anything substantial.

I’d like to know how someone makes enough money to afford a Tesla but does not have enough of a tax obligation to qualify for the Federal Tax Credit.

I can’t afford a Tesla but I sure pay a lot of taxes….

Yea, agree that tax money should be spent as direct rebate, not all these silly rules.

Just as a point of reference, the push for the legislation came from lawmakers representing Hispanic areas. I don’t doubt the sincerity of the goals but do agree the approach is not likely to work.

I wish they focus on getting rid of car pool stickers and $1500 incentives for plug in hybrids that have less than 20 miles of EV range

I don’t get the biased doubled subsidy amounts for f’n Hydrogen over BEV’s.

It’s far less efficient and carries a host of unpleasant damaging effects when it interacts with matter. It takes energy to convert it from something else (it’s an energy carrier, not a form of energy in and of itself), it takes energy to store and compress into a vehicles onboard 10,000 psi tanks. Most filling stations have problems serving over 20 vehicles a day– if they’re even functional. The fueling stations are crazy expensive to build, and they require a huge amounts of maintenance to stay functional. It’s the end consumer who will be paying for this.

CARB: I just don’t get it, but please– STOP PROMOTING HYDROGEN IN PASSENGER CARS!!! The ONLY folks benefiting from this, are the Fossil Fuel Industry who is providing the converted Hydrogen.

Yeah, it is stupid. But I don’t think it is worth arguing about because so few people will actually use that subsidy. In fact that $5K subsidy can be used to bash them over the head later.

Imagine being able to say “Fuel cell cars get TWICE the subsidy of EV cars but still no one wants them! It is time to kill off this boondoggle program.”

I just purchased a used Tesla. I can’t find a site that will tell me if I qualify for the $2500 or not. Where do you get a form to be turned down on?