Tesla Model S in Washington, D.C.

Tesla Model S in Washington, D.C.

The California Air Resources Board is currently evaluating a proposal from a staff member in which both the Tesla Model S and Cadillac ELR would be excluded from CARB's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project if the proposal gets approved.

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR

California's ARB is somewhat strapped for cash, so there have been several ideas tossed out there in an effort to save some money.  One of those ideas calls for a reduction in the state's CVRP.  According to the proposal:

"Electric vehicles costing more than $60,000 may be eliminated from a major rebate program and the incentives themselves would be reduced by a fifth of their current level..."

Reports Capitol Weekly.

Complete details of the proposal can be found here.

The reasoning behind the proposal is twofold.

  1. CARB is running low on funds
  2. CARB would prefer to see CVRP rebates go mostly to those in disadvantaged communities who are in need
CVRP was established to encourage the purchase of low or zero emissions vehicles, so this price tag cap runs counter to that.

Tesla says that such a change to CVRP could “jeopardize the purchase of more than 2,500 Tesla vehicles in the state."

According to Capitol Weekly, the CVRP is desperately low on funding:

"The ARB’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, or CVRP, faces an estimated $30 million funding shortfall during the current fiscal year. That amount is all but certain to increase in 2014-15, absent changes, the staff noted."

"The program has issued about $100 million worth of rebates on 49,000 vehicles through January 2014, reflecting a 160 percent increase in rebate activities in 2013 compared with 2012. Projections for the 2014-15 put the rebates at $130 million to $200 million."

CVRP is faced with several choices though, one of which excludes expensive plug in vehicles and one of which does not.  CVRP could simply reduce the amount of its rebate to all qualifying vehicles.  This, obviously, would be the least objectionable choice.  What's fair for one is fair for all, right?

But the proposed change of capping rebates at $60,000 basically singles out Tesla Motors (yes, the Cadillac ELR would be knocked off the eligibility list too, but it sales are so low that we're not concerned with the potential outcome from its losing CVRP rebate status).  However, Tesla is very concerned.

Tesla says that the CVRP is “one of the most successful consumer facing programs for the California Air Resources Board. To date, it has contributed to the sale of 56,617 advanced technology vehicles in the state … including 5,800 Teslas.”  Tesla adds that this proposed change "aims to paint Tesla as the sole purveyor of EVs to the wealthy, while disregarding the fact that individuals of similar affluence may still continue to receive a rebate by purchasing a different EV.”

We side with Tesla Motors on this one, as it's our belief that it's simply unfair to single out one automaker just because it happens to make rather expensive vehicles.  CVRP wasn't established to help those in "disadvantages communities" buy electric vehicles, but rather to encourage everyone within the state to buy a plug-in.  Everyone includes the wealthy, even if the rebate doesn't influence their decision to buy electric.  Therefore, we can't get behind CARB on this one.

List of Currently Eligible Vehicles Broken Down by Price by CARB

List of Currently Eligible Vehicles Broken Down by Price by CARB

CARB Statement on the Topic

CARB Statement on the Topic

Source: Capitol Weekly via AutoblogGreen