Tesla Model 3 Added To California’s Rebate List, Now $2,500 Cheaper For Most

Tesla Model 3

JUL 26 2017 BY MARK KANE 25

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 has just been included to California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), which in best case scenario lowers the cost of the EV by up to $4,500.  Although most would receive $2,500 (see details below).

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Combined with the $7,500 federal tax credit, the effective price of the base Model 3 in California for many will start at $25,000.

Entire list of Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) is available here.

However, the amount of rebate and one’s eligibility depends on the applicant (and his extended family’s) income. Since November 1, 2016 the income cap is:

  • $150,000 for single filers
  • $204,000 for head-of-household filers
  • $300,000 for joint filers

Consumers with household incomes less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for an increased rebate amount – by $2,000 for total $4,500 in case of all-electric cars like Model 3.  (Translated:  single persons with earnings under $36k, and households (4) with earnings under $73k).

Details and 2017 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Guidelines are available here.

With all that said, the CVRP program is currently out of cash for any applicants not low-income.  The anticipation is that it will be refunded, but no timeline is yet available.  One imagines with the expected high volume of Tesla Model 3 sales in California later this year…it might be quite a wait for many.

CVRP program has a bit of a funding shortfall atm…the Tesla Model 3 unlikely to assist in fixing this problem

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25 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Added To California’s Rebate List, Now $2,500 Cheaper For Most"

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Or you can move to GA where instead of a rebate for helping improve the environment, they will tax you $208 / year — incrasing by 4% every year!!!!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Yeah, CA will be doing the same starting this November…….lol

The silliness of these fees is that EV’s boost sales tax revenues by shifting the 81% of gasoline costs that leaves the state into in-state purchases instead.

That turns over an average of 3 times/year with appx. 68% being taxable.

End result? Former gas expenditures * 81% * 3 * 68% * sales tax rate = new state revenues.

In CA that amounts to about $500/yr/vehicle and$350/yr/vehicle to the local city.

It’s not just about the environment.

Ya but then you’d be living in GA and getting screwed 😉 each of them is bad enough on their own but both at the same time 😮

I really wish the state of Texas would stop bending over backwards for the auto dealers.

There is about to be a perfectly good $2,500 rebate here in 2018 and 2019… and I would like to be able to take advantage of it on a Model 3.


Just in case you haven’t signed up and sent the form letter in to your representatives.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

These rebates/incentives should all be equally available to EVERYONE.

This income qualification is all BS.

Trolly. The rebates come from everyone and go to those buying cars. If the rich are buying cars they are being subsidized by the poor.

If you make 4X the baseline you don’t need a subsidy is the point they’re making.

Give them an incentive to purchase a $35K-$150K Telsa over a Ferrari…

If you want to encourage EV growth, then the rebates should apply equally.

Luxury items for the rich should be taxed more.

Doing silly social programs like these is a questionable.

Well said, sir.

An EV rebate program which does not support the one company which is doing the most to push forward the EV revolution — Tesla — and would only reward a company which made EVs for the “economy” segment — of which there are none at all — would not serve anany purpose at all.

The purpose of EV rebates is not to help the poor buy EVs. The purpose is to encourage auto makers to make EVs that people actually want to buy.

Tax rebates cannot magically alter the reality that batteries are still too expensive for any auto maker to make a profit selling cars priced at under $30k. Hand-wringing about how that doesn’t help the poor, or even writing histronics about how tax rebates is “stealing” from the poor, utterly misses the point.

* * * * *

To those who think EV rebates should be used to help the poor buy EVs:

The poor almost exclusively buy used cars. So tax breaks should be used to help the rich buy EVs, and those will eventually trickle down to the poor.

That’s the reality. Anything else is just wishful thinking on your part.

After you purchase that new Tesla with the rebate, treat it gently. I’ll be buying it in five years. Lower income people drive electric.

I bought a used 2013 Nissan Leaf SV with 16k miles for $8500 a year ago. I make $30,000 a year.

So if a Land Rover SUV is ~2000.00 less tham a Model X theres no incentive?

Why take the rebate away (or reduce) from those who want an EV and can afford it easier with the rebate and give it to those who can barely afford one?

Which income bracket is more likely to pull the trigger on an EV purchase?

It’s stupid complaining about the extra $2000 given to low income buyers. The reality is probably very few people actually are able to take advantage of it. The actual rebate is only $2500, with a bonus for the rare low income person who buys or leases an EV.

They didn’t have the funds/political will to make the rebate $4500 or $5000– that was never in the cards. So it’s really a question of a potential extra $2000 for a low income buyer, or a rebate that is $2500 full stop (no extra for low income, and no extra for anyone else either).

Having been in the room when this policy was discussed I can tell you that the logic is that if you can spend $60k+ on a car you don’t need a rebate and you likely already have other cars to drive and so the rebate will not buy as many EV miles as it will for a person who has a single car and will use it as their main vehicle.

Also, the relative incentive for a poorer person is much higher and so more motivating AND they are more likely to live in a environmental impact zone. So an EV there will have more $$ impacts in long term health savings for the State.

The rebate is about getting more EV miles not just a nifty second car.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Did any of them bother to interview or “Poll” those poor individuals in the “environmental impact zone”?????

They buy/finance used cars from $4K – $11K.
No 2 seater Fiat 500 types either. They need 4 seats for the kids and baby daddy.

Now how much is an EV after the rebates when they come in? And how much has to be financed at point of sale?!?!?!?!?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

That sounded a little terse towards you.
That wasn’t my intent. 🙁

Trolly, Bar. The tax burden on the poorer is much more transactional than tiered. Sales tax, mileage tax (aka gas tax) etc. take up, unit for unit, a much bigger % of the income of a poor person than of a richer person. The purchase of a used clinker as has been noted here is NOT a good economic decision as that vehicle will consume more fuel, cost more in maintenance, etc etc etc. than a newer vehicle. The lack of larger capital to buy in to a newer car is where the rebate helps. That then takes a clunker that spews many times the emissions of a newer car off the road. The EV rebate IS a social program. It is targeted to move us from the gasoline import dependency that we have to a locally generated locally used process. That IS the very definition of a social program. One study done by Strategen group and Berkeley showed a $51 Billion/year positive economic impact to California alone by shifting just 50% of the gasoline purchases in CA to electricity. (https://www.dropbox.com/s/disn2wvxfrvv1kw/Strategen_2030_Governor_Goals.pdf?dl=0) The rich don’t buy that much has so the poorer must be brought in for that to happen.


Glad you acknowledge that this policy is a social program.

Don’t stop there. Plenty of things we can do with the aim of having a positive impact for the state.

We have subsidized basic cellphone service for the poor, super-subsidized EVs now.

How about subsidized bicycles? That’ll help emissions.

Subsidized gym membership? That’ll help reduce state health care costs.

Subsidized rates for Whole Foods? Need the poor to eat healthy.

Subsidized solar for poor homes? Not my idea actually, I heard about it.

You need to think bigger than your simply desire to do good if you’re a policy-maker. If you create policies that skew the market in favor of one company against another, you may very well alter the market economics and see adverse effects.

Say you favor cheap from China for the poor. The US innovators and manufacturers of that item will see less economic reason to continue in that segment.

You are absolutely correct but I’d like to add more info and maybe there’s a way to structure it to change the dynamic. First point is study after study shows that owning a vehicle that is reliable transportation is the number one way for people to climb out of poverty. It improves things like job attendance and on time record as well as expands the available choices for housing and jobs which can drive down housing cost and increase income both of which add net to the household. So given that fact it is extremely important to get low wage earners into a vehicle and keep them there. I know people love public transportation and that’s great and we all want more but the facts of the current reality show a car is better money spent on reducing poverty. OK from a buddy who has been at every end of the car business from used car salesman to finance director of a large auto chain to now running a multi billion dollar loan portfolio where the ‘lendee’ is the auto dealer chains, he has some industry insight. By lender to auto chains, I mean when you go to a subprime… Read more »
@energymatters, poor people don’t buy EVs, at least not yet, and rebates on the cars themselves won’t help that. Most lower-income folks don’t own homes (and so can’t install a residential charger; and another huge cost, btw, which won’t make sense to most of them), don’t work for employers who are likely to support workplace charging, and don’t live in areas likely to have much public charging infrastructure eitehr. If the state really wanted to encourage the lower-income population to purchase EVs, they would require landlords to allow residential chargers (or even encourage them to install them) and fund the installation of free or low-cost charging public infrastructure in low-income areas. Playing around with income-based assignment of EV rebates is simply a misguided social program, attempting to achieve the wrong goals with the wrong tools. An across-the-board rebate, regardless of who is purchasing, is actually what is fair to everyone. It amounts to a “sale price”, whose sold goal is to encourage the purchase of a particular product — EVs. Not some other goal of “correcting social ills” by giving cars to poor people. If somebody wants to start a program to do the latter, that is fine, but it… Read more »

@energymatters, yes, EV rebates do “come from everyone”, but only *proportionately*.

A poor person pays proportionately less taxes (or possibly none) than a rich person. So, it is not really true that rich people’s purchases of EVs “are being subsidized by the poor”. In reality, proportionately, the rich people are subsidizing the other rich people.

In any case, as others have said, EV rebates are not a social program. They are a market incentive. Adjusting EV rebates according to income makes as much sense as a store charging different customers different prices, for the same item, based on income.

Which oddly is what most utilities do with their electricity prices 😀

So not only do the poor get a bigger state rebate they also have a lower operating cost!

Utilities are a regulated public utility and, in some cases (e.g., winter conditions), are vital for health, shelter and perhaps survival. Electricity, for example, is effectively a necessity that we, as a society, try to ensure everybody has access to, sometimes to the point of subsidization — as this is the humane thing to do.

On the other hand… tasty snacks, comfy armchairs, and EVs (or any type of vehicle) are all relative “luxuries”, and everybody (should) pay the same price for them. And, if these products ever go on-sale, everyone is (or should be) eligible for the same deal, regardless of income.