The US state of California is making it even easier for drivers to make the switch to clean electric transport, with the introduction of a maximum $US1,500 ($A2,056) rebate.
Dubbed the “California Clean Fuel Reward” (CCFR), the new rebate will offer drivers a point-of-sale price reduction when buying an electric vehicle through a participating car retailer.
The $US1,500 rebate will mean that when added to the federal EV tax credit, the total financial incentives accessible to Californian drivers will amount to $US9,000 ($A12,340).
While the federal tax credit has reduced for EV makers that have sold more than 200,000 units, US president-elect Joe Biden has indicated that he will usher in a return of the full tax credit as part of a $US2 trillion climate and energy package.
The new CCFR rebate is aimed at further accelerating the adoption of EVs in the lead-taking state, which already accounts for about half of the 1.7 million electric cars on American roads (according to Veloz).
“The instant point-of-sale price reduction of up to $1,500, along with other programs like Clean Cars 4 All, will help make these ultra-clean cars more affordable, especially for low-income families or those living in disadvantaged communities,” said vice-chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Sandy Berg in a statement.
The announcement of the new rebate comes in a week rich in news about countries, states, and organisations pushing for a quicker acceleration to electric vehicles.
These range in varying degrees of ambition from the UK’s confirmation it will ban all petrol and diesel sales from 2030, the formation of the new Zero Emissions Transport Association (ZETA) that takes Tesla and Uber under its belt as well as two Australian lithium companies, to the Australian Capital Territory’s zero interest loan and free rego for new EV purchases.
While ZETA wants to push for a 2030 ban of new petrol and diesel car sales across the US, California governor Gavin Newsom already issued an executive order that the state phase out combustion cars and only sell zero-emission cars from 2035, in September.
In auto-obsessed California, transport accounts for 41% of greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of air pollution.
The new Californian rebate will help cement Newsom’s plans, but it is important to note that it also includes plug-in hybrid vehicles, the subject of controversy on whether or not they help reduce emissions.
While Tesla does not sell via dealerships like legacy car makers, its many showrooms are also listed via the new CCFR website’s retail list.
The amount of rebate per vehicle is dependent on battery capacity. Electric vehicles with 16kWh batteries or larger will qualify for the full rebate, and a formula is applied to those with smaller capacities.
Whether this will have the effect of drawing drivers towards vehicles with smaller batteries (as long as they are larger than the stipulated 16kWh for a maximum rebate) to get best value out of the rebate remains to be seen.
Funding for the new Californian electric vehicle rebate program comes from electric utilities participating in CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a clean fuel credit scheme that allows producers of clean fuels, such as electricicty providers, to generate credits they can sell to producers with more carbon-intense products.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.