California To Trial Point-Of-Sale EV Rebate Program

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Nissan LEAF

A point-of-sale rebate program in California could further promote EV adoption and shift more focus toward lower income consumers.

The California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) can get you up to $7,000 when you purchase a zero emission vehicle (up to 7k for fuel cells, $4,500 for BEVs, $3,500 for PHEVs – full details on qualifications and requirements here).

However, you still have to finance the full price, and then wait for a check to come in the mail. The amount that you receive is also now income-based, which is something new that California has initiated after finding that its rebates were likely benefiting high-end buyers who may not have needed the assistance.


Toyota Prius Prime

California has made considerable progress with it ZEV initiatives, but the state is constantly working toward ways to secure more vast adoption, especially for its lower income residents. If the rebate came off the sale price of the vehicle at the time of transaction, it could surely spur a marked jump in sales.

In order to assure that the program works as planned, buyers will have to verify income and prequalify through the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE). Since current programs are already indexed by income, this wouldn’t be much different.

Essentially, the consumer submits an application with supporting documents to CSE, which is then approved (or not) via email. The buyer would have a certain time frame to visit a dealer and complete a transaction. Dealers can check consumer eligibility online, and would be reimbursed by CSE after the fact.

San Diego may be the initial location for a point-of-sale rebate pilot program. CARB believes that the area is ideal because it encompasses “a representative selection of dealers across all eligible OEMs.” San Diego also provides a wide mix of income levels. CARB hasn’t yet released details about when the program may begin, or if and when it will hit other markets.

Source: CarsDirect

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30 Comments on "California To Trial Point-Of-Sale EV Rebate Program"

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Policy consideration aside, this seems like a very straightforward program a.f.a. administration and (e)-“paperwork”. Why is any trialing needed?

Trials can be done without passage of legislation. Otherwise have to have legislation through the state assembly & senate.

Utilities have used same pathway to start monopolizing electric fuel supply.

Because you will be surprised how many EV drivers don’t know CVRP even existed.

This sounds like a good plan. Certainly would make it easier for anyone who doesn’t have a large chunk of cash up front.

I can foresee two possible problems: first, dealer ignorance and even reluctance because it’s a little more work for them; second, lack of promotion and thus of awareness among lower income consumers.
Both can be overcome, but it will take some work.

Colorado does this. The car buyer basically signs over the right to collect the state incentive over to the dealership, then for a small fee the dealership does all the paperwork and carries the costs until the state sends them the incentive.

$7K for fuel cells and only $4500 for BEVs? How are HFCVs more zero emission than BEVs? Just like HFCVs get 9 ZEV points vs BEVs only up to 3. It’s typical for the corruption of CARB that it chooses to favour some technologies over others rather than just reward the results.

Looks like hydrogen is still successful in one of its main missions: absorbing the cash that could otherwise have been spent on technology with real disruptive potential.


Insane. Years ago the head of CARB was from an oil background. Don’t know if that still applies, but obviously oil still has a large influence. Oil companies will profit from selling H2, they are not in the business of selling electricity.

Hydrogen is attractive to regulators as:

1) It allows a centralized model to continue which is easier to control.

2) The powers that be need the Utilities and natural gas producers to counter the power of the Oil lobby. Hydrogen serves those interests well.

3) The “equal to gassing up time” experience has a huge impact on perceived customer acceptance (in the minds of the regulators).

In other words, the regulators bought what the oil companies were selling.

Actually the current head of CARB Mary Nichols is literally in bed with an oil industry lobbyist, her husband!

Can’t be easy to keep an objective view under such circumstances.

The idea of the program is to spur technologies. BEVs got their big boost when they were getting off the ground. BEVs have now sold a lot that more of the money that goes to develop them comes from vehicle sales, so less “boost” is needed.

CARB certainly is putting more into developing FCEVs right now on a per-vehicle basis. I’m not 100% against that, but at some point you just have to let the leader lead instead of pushing another technology that isn’t getting traction.

What are Mirai/Clarity sales so far? I’m sure even at $7500 a pop CARB is laying out a lot more cheddar to BEV buyers than FCEV buyers right now.

It’s not CARB’s job to promote specific technologies/pick winners, it’s CARB’s job to promote a specific outcome: clean air. CARB should reward that outcome and leave it to the industry to decide which technology works best to get that result.

It’s typical for corrupt nature of the hydrogen agenda that it has managed to turn CARB from a clean air focussed institution into one that that promotes the agenda of certain special interests.

It is their job to promote technologies. They’re not picking winners, they promote BEVs and FCEVs.

They are promoting clean air. And again, they are paying out far more on BEVs than FCEVs.

They gave hybrids a boost when they needed a boost. They give plug-in hybrids a boost because they need a boost. They give BEVs a boost because they need a boost.

FCEVs aren’t established yet, they need more of a boost. It’s the same thing they’ve done over and over. It’s not picking winners it s promoting technologies which clean the air. And that IS their job.

The important thing is to know when to cut and run, if FCEVs don’t pan out, then cut them loose. We’re not to that point yet.

7K for fool cells. Shoot me…
Only 4500 for BEVs *facepalm*
California I thought you’d do better than that. tztztz
Very disappointed.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“Dealers can check consumer eligibility..”
“buyer would have a certain time frame to visit a dealer ”

Did NADA help write this up?!?!?!?

Head of CARB drives a Mirai…Don’t worry, they don’t sell well…

Ah that explains everything…
Yea I know. But not very surprising. I mean they have fool cells. Nobody wants to be a fool? 😉

randomhuman said:

“7K for fool cells. Shoot me…
Only 4500 for BEVs *facepalm*”

Wow. Disappointing indeed! Let’s hear it for Big Oil lobbying: BOOOOO!! Hissss!!

All but very few people only get $2500 on their EV. Your income has to be very low (by CA standards) to qualify for the extra $2000 and on top of that it’s based on the income of everyone in your household. If your income is low enough to qualify for the extra $2000 it’s questionable whether your income is high enough that you can afford to buy or lease the car, extra $2000 or not.

Someone who has an income that low can probably qualify for additional incentives from some of the air districts in the state that can provide another $4500 if they have an older car to retire at the same time. And while such an individual likely isn’t eligible for the Federal credit, they can still benefit from it by leasing and making sure the whole thing is applied to the lease, THEN putting down the $9 in incentives as an additional down payment which should make the car pretty much free, at least to lease.

M3 - reserved Niro-TBD

SD! Let’s hope that they get this in place for Model 3. 🙂

Parents are near the threshold, so will be getting at one in their name for the extra $2k

Better yet, have them move or create a fake home address in the Central Valley, and you’ll take home another $3,000 (from the air district). It’s possible to get paid to lease a LEAF there!

A lot of hoops to jump through and still not a point-of-purchase rebate.

Still, with the federal tax break still applying and the addition of this bonus if you qualify – and some people willing to fill out paperwork and wait will get one heckuva deal on a EV!

This surely will be nice for middle class or upper middle class buyers of Bolt EV, LEAF and Ioniq EV.

The California CVRP is indexed to income and phases out above a certain level.

I don’t like this! Now the dealer will see from the beginning if you qualify for the $4k and will probably adjust the sale price higher so they can suck up some of that cash. I think it’s better if they don’t see it and you get it a month later separately. Many have 0 down programs anyway so why change this? It will only help the dealers imo. How many of us here had the sale person remnd us that they can’t move the price lower because we already get a big fed discount?


Not necessarily, but the possibility of that happening is of course very real. But a savvy consumer should be able to get around that issue by negotiating all pricing decisions first then proceeding with the rebate.

From the article:
“The buyer would have a certain time frame to visit a dealer and complete a transaction. Dealers can check consumer eligibility online, and would be reimbursed by CSE after the fact.”
Dealer sees everything right from the beginning hence affecting your negotiation. They do this now with the federal rebate so why should we believe they won’t touch the state rebates?

M3 - Reserved --- Niro - TBD

We already drive the Spark for nearly free. 🙂

@Mark Just call them on this. Rebates at fed/state level has nothing to do with sale at the salespersons’ level.

Simply state and if he no like, then will deal with some other salesperson who understands and doesn’t want to play that game.

Regardless, the numbers should all be done virtually before hitting the showroom to finalize.

Good move, yes the subsidies should not be given to the rich.

Also after a year, all such subsidies should be removed when Tesla Model-3 sales is successful.

When one company can sell an EV successfully, then other companies can.