California is ending its popular electric car rebate program and focusing on making grants only available to lower-income vehicle buyers. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, which has been running since 2010, will end when the money runs out that year. Instead, next year the state will expand a program that provides subsidies only to low- and middle-income residents. Income limits for eligibility for a grant are becoming stricter, and Californians earning more than 300% of the state poverty line are no longer eligible. The goal of these changes is to help those struggling to afford electric cars and to expand and deepen the state’s fleet of zero-emission vehicles.
The revised program will give people who meet the income requirements up to $12,000 to replace their older gasoline cars with cleaner alternatives. Car buyers may also be eligible for a state tax credit of up to $7,500 for some vehicles. While the old program was successful in driving the adoption of electric cars, as electric cars become more widespread, experts see a need to redirect the subsidies to lower-income people. The state wants to democratize clean transportation and ensure people of all income levels have access to electric cars.
However, some auto dealers worry that the end of the rebate for middle-income Californians could put people off buying electric cars. Despite concerns, the state is committed to making electric cars accessible to all and is aiming to electrify its 25 million cars to reduce air pollution and dependency on fossil fuels.