California's Popular EV Rebate Program Is Low On Cash

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Senior Pricing Analyst

As CarsDirect’s resident pricing analyst, Alex offers must-know analysis of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured in publications such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and Autoblog.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst - April 22, 2021

Funding for California's popular CVRP rebate for plug-ins, electric cars, and hydrogen vehicles is on the verge of running out according to the California Air Resources Board. Beginning tomorrow, new applications will be put on a waitlist, potentially affecting shoppers hoping to take advantage of stellar EV incentives.

Citing "strong demand for electric vehicles," the CARB stated in a recent press release that funding will run out in less than 30 days. According to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project website, most new applications will be put on a waitlist tomorrow, with limited funds reserved for a pilot program in San Diego called Rebate Now.

The CARB adds that "Over 145,000 EVs were sold in California in 2020 with a majority of sales taking place in the latter half of the year. Through the first quarter of 2021, CVRP rebate applications have already exceeded levels seen in early 2020, with substantially higher participation by low- and moderate-income consumers."

Funding-related pauses have become an almost yearly ritual with a similar situation back in the summer of 2019 that was resolved by September. While the CARB doesn't offer an estimate on when new funding will be approved, we think it's likely that the latest issue will be a relatively minor inconvenience as in years past.

Fortunately, other incentives like the California Clean Fuel Reward are unaffected and continue to offer up to $1,500 in upfront savings. For most buyers, the CVRP is currently worth $4,500 on hydrogen fuel cell cars like the Toyota Mirai, $2,000 on EVs like the Chevy Bolt, $1,000 on plug-in hybrids like the Toyota RAV4 Prime.

Combined with manufacturer plug-in incentives, the Clean Vehicle Rebate can offer big savings. For example, 2020 Chevy Bolts offer one of the best 0% APR deals on any car with zero-interest financing for 84 months plus $7,000 in GM Down Payment Assistance. Even a Hyundai Kona EV can be leased from just $199/month.

Evolving rules have narrowed eligibility for consumers and limited their choices. In 2015, the program added an income limit, and an MSRP cap of $60,000 was implemented in 2019. Just a month ago, the program updated its minimum range requirement and excluded half a dozen models like the Toyota Prius Prime.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst

As CarsDirect’s resident pricing analyst, Alex offers must-know analysis of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured in publications such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and Autoblog.

Follow On: Twitter

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