California Rebate Program Out Of Money. Again. Kinda.

JUN 18 2016 BY JAY COLE 28

CVRP Funding Put On Hold. Again.

CVRP Funding Put On Hold. Again.

For what seems like the umpteenth time, the California Clean Vehicle Rebate program is out of money. Kinda.

Less three months ago the program was overhauled to “cap for higher-income consumers, and increased rebate levels for low- and moderate-income consumers” (details).  The CVRP rebate for all-electric cars maxes out at $4,000, while plug-in hybrid rebates are capped at $3,000 (fuel cell vehicles at $6,500).

Earlier Funded CVRP Allocations

Earlier Funded CVRP Allocations

It’s a shame that when those new low and moderate income customers went to file for those rebates from June the 10th, they found the dreaded “out of cash sign” on website’s front page (see above) – all thanks to some political shenanigans (more on that later).

And that payment stop-sign is despite the fact that the money is already present, ear-marked and allocated to keep those rebates issued through September of 2017 (at least some ~$230 million worth).

Regardless, effective for everyone who submitted a rebate application after June 10th, 2016, they will be put on a wait list for a cheque to arrive sometime in the future…should the program be refunded.  Which it will.

This time the wait for the re-funding however may take a bit longer (or it might not), as the hold-up seems to be centered around political wrangling from the Governor over the state’s climate change programs of all things.

The Chevrolet Spark EV had benefited from the new CVRP format over the past 3 months - selling

The Chevrolet Spark EV had benefited from the new CVRP format over the past 2 months – helping GM sell more than 800 copies overall (some ~293 owners have received a CVRP rebate since it was re-launched in March)

The office is now holding the money up to…wait for it now…get the California green house gas reduction/cap and trade program extended and funded into the future.

“Some believe the Governor is holding onto the money as an incentive for lawmakers to reach a deal this summer on extending the life of the cap-and-trade program, which is facing legal questions over whether it can keep operating past 2020” – reports the LA Times

The new current state budget, that is just waiting on Governor Brown’s signature on Wednesday, has no provisions for paying out vehicles subsidies as it has in the past.   Instead, the Governor is looking to get the climate change/cap and trade law itself (AB 32, which was enacted in 2006) extended past 2020.

CARB (California Air Resources Board) is naturally thrilled with the political dance stalling the process on its program. The LA Times picked up this quote from Dean Florez (former state senator and CARB member), and also from Bill Magavern, policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air.

“I think it’s ridiculous to play politics with kids’ lungs.”

“With the urgency of the climate crisis, we really shouldn’t delay in investing in projects that reduce emissions.”

Bottom line?  Keep buying those plug-in vehicles in California, and keep submitting your rebate applications (here), the money is coming.

LA Times, Hat tip to Mark H!


Categories: General, Sales


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28 Comments on "California Rebate Program Out Of Money. Again. Kinda."

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Why give any rebate at all, just increase the Tax on Petrol / Gas

Higher taxes = people mad
Rebates = people happy

The Tax Payer pays in the end, it is not Government funded it is always Tax Payer funded.

More accurate to say “some” taxpayers rather than “the” taxpayer. Funding comes from polluters paying for the right to pollute. Seems fair enough.

Paying for the damage to health and the environment, “externalized costs” need to be INTERNALIZED.

You must be the rare nut who loves how the government spends the tax money. For most people, we hate the government waste, and would rather get back more of the tax money than give more to those crooks. CA is already one of the highest taxed state in US, there’s no need for more.

I agree with your “let’s keep it simple” sentiment, however an increase in the gas tax would have a disparate impact on low income workers. Now maybe that would push some of those folks into EVs, but maybe it wouldn’t. Typically low income workers are less educated and thus less likely to do the math on the lifetime cost of a vehicle to see the economic benefit of an EV.

Or you just make it tax-neutral. Lower income taxes to compensate for the increased gas tax.

Lower income drivers would get a tax credit.

Miggy said:

“…just increase the Tax on Petrol / Gas”

Miggy, if I didn’t already know you don’t live in the USA, this would have been a tip-off. Any U.S. politician who wants to kill his career deader than a doornail couldn’t do it faster than by advocating for higher gasoline/diesel taxes.

It would be nice if that could happen, but politically it’s impossible here.

I think they should allow more than 2 rebates lifetime per person. Most EVS are leased, and not having the rebate available again may cause a buyer not to stick with an EV.

Hmm … I didn’t think the person doing the leasing got the rebate but it was giving to the leasing company … or is that only federal?

CA rebate goes to the end driver, not the leasing company. Fed goes to leasing company, and that’s shown as cap reduction in lease paperwork.

Good, rebates should run out of money there’s no reason to fund these things with rebates indefinitely electric cars are a better way to drive you want one buy one.

This is actually a case of people who pollute paying for people not to pollute. Perfectly fair and reasonable.

The federal tax credit is different though a good case can be made that the US would be better off buying everyone an electric car than continuing to incur the cost of military activities in the Middle East, the only real purpose of which is to maintain oil supplies.

California politics. They always remind me of a phrase my long departed father was fond of. “Those folks couldn’t find their own _$$ with both hands and a flash light.”

CVRP web page shows 3655 SparkEV took the rebate since the beginning at $9,185,167 total cost. Simple algebra shows that 32 people took $4K rebate while the rest took $2.5K rebate like everyone else. That’s not a lot of people. Apparently, low income people still don’t know that free EV lease is available with SparkEV.

Doing the math again with only past 1 year of data, it seems 34 out of 1391 took $4K rebate. What’s with the discrepancy?

The $4k “plus-up” for low-income customers has only been available since the end of March. So you won’t be able to get a good value by calculating a year or multiple years at a time. I’m glad to see that low-income customers are purchasing PHVs and EVs.

“…free EV lease is available with SparkEV.”

For those few lucky enough to find one of those “test market”, or California compliance, vehicles.

I find it quite amusing, Sparky, that on the one hand you claim GM isn’t losing money on the Spark EV, and then you turn around and point out that you can lease one nearly for free. Talk about cognitive dissonance! 😮

GM isn’t handing out the rebates, so they have no bearing on the profitability of the Spark EV.

*rebates making Spark EV leases in CA essentially free.

PuPu, how much money do you think SparkEV is losing and why?

It’s not the battery (same as Volt). It’s not the drive train (no ICE unlike Volt). It’s not the body/chassis (pretty much the same as Spark Gas, unlike Volt’s unique body). We know Volt is $33K and making profit. Then exactly what gold is embedded in SparkEV at $26K to be unprofitable?

“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” — attributed to Otto von Bismarck

ugh… I just placed a $2500 deposit on a Tesla yesterday with the expectation of getting it back through this program. :-/

I like a lot of what Jerry Brown has done, but this stinks of pure politics. Holding up money for a small minority without the political clout to be a liability for him is a calculated politically safe move he can use to get what he wants on a bigger issue.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t trust politicians. They will ignore ethics and sacrifice people, including their neediest constituents, for political gain.

Sure glad we leased our Spark EV back in March before all this nonsense began.

I don’t think they should offer the rebates on leasing.

It should be purchase only.

But I guess they rather subsidize the “free lease” program.

It’s still not Free…you have to buy full insurance coverage. Limited on the mileage. You must drive the car for 3 years or refund the money back to the state.