California Launches Upfront Rebates on Plug-In Vehicles In San Diego

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - February 15, 2018

Interested consumers in San Diego County that are on the fence on purchasing an electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid, a hydrogen car, or even a zero-emission motorcycle now have an incentive to go with a fuel-efficient machine.

As we reported back in May, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) launched a pilot on January 30, 2018 that allows purchasers of an electric vehicle to get their rebates prior to purchasing or leasing an eligible car. Previously, buyers would receive their rebate after signing on the dotted line for an alternative-fuel car.

That’s no longer the case, as the pilot allows consumers to get their rebate ahead of time, which includes being able to apply the rebate amount at a participating dealership. At the time of writing, there are roughly 30 dealerships that will allow consumers to apply the preapproved rebate towards the purchase or lease of a vehicle. The dealership will provide the CVRP with the necessary paperwork and gets to claim the entirety of the rebate online.

In a report, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Chad Taylor, assistant director of clean transportation at the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), believes that the addition to allow consumers to apply the rebate at the dealership will help customers that know what they want.

“For those who already know what they want…they can get the vehicle, apply the rebate at the point of sale, reduce the amount of financing and they’re off down the road,” said Taylor.

If the pilot does well in San Diego County, the program will spread statewide at an unspecified date.

Consumers can also choose to claim the rebate themselves, but will have to follow the same steps as before. That includes applying for the rebate online, sending the necessary paperwork to CVRP, and then waiting approximately 30 to 40 days (average wait times are longer for applications that are not selected for income verification) for the paperwork to clear. A rebate check will be issued within 90 days of final application approval.

Nissan Leaf

Once preapproved, applicants have 14 days to claim the rebate. If the rebate has not been claimed within ten days, there is a one-time option to extend the period for an additional 14 days. If the applicants don’t purchase or lease an alternative fuel car within the necessary timeframe, they’ll have to reapply and go through the entire process all over again.

The San Diego Union-Tribune claims that the available rebates range from $1,500 for plug-in hybrids to $5,000 for hydrogen-powered cars. Rebates for electric vehicles can bring the price of an electric vehicle down by $2,500. Consumers looking to purchase a zero-emission motorcycle can apply for a $900 rebate.

Consumers residing in San Diego County will still have to be eligible under the state’s rules from 2016. There are no eligible rebates for consumers making more than $150,000 a year and are single tax filers. That figure grows to $204,000 for filers that claim to be the head of the household and $300,000 for joint filers. Interestingly, the caps on the rebates don’t apply to hydrogen cars.

The same eligibility rules apply for households with incomes that are less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, as well. Households that meet those requirements receive $3,500 in rebates for plug-in hybrids, $4,500 for electric vehicles, and $7,000 for hydrogen cars. The San Diego Union-Tribune claims households that are eligible for those rebates make $36,180 for an individual and $73,800 for a family of four.

The outlet reports that CSE officials believe that the new program will boost sales of fuel-efficient vehicles. “We believe this has particular appeal to folks in disadvantaged communities, so it enables program equity,” said Taylor. “But it also enables most all Californias to participate as well.”

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website