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California Offers $5000 in Tax Rebates for Electric Vehicles

In an attempt to bolster sales of electric vehicles, California is offering residents up to $5000 in tax rebates for purchasing or leasing a light-duty EV. Those in the market for an electric commercial vehicle can theoretically earn up to a $20,000 rebate.

These incentives are part of California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, a program created in 2007. The new CVRP launched Monday, and succeeds the Fueling Alternatives Program (California's last push to get green vehicles on the road) that ended in May 2009. Although scheduled to run through 2015, the California Air Resources Board expects funding to be depleted well before that date.

"It is anticipated that funds will be insufficient to provide rebates to all eligible vehicle purchasers over the duration of the project," reads the program's Web site. "Rebates will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis."

Thus far, the list of eligible vehicles is rather sparse. Only two vehicles capable of operating on the highway -- the pricey Tesla Roadster and the Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell vehicle -- qualify for the incentives. Chrysler's GEM and the Miles EV neighborhood electric vehicles, coupled with Zero's electric motorcycles, are also eligible, although none receives the full $5000 incentive.

Mike Ferry, head of the California Center's transportation programs wants to see the program receive even more money with the upcoming wave of electric vehicles.

"We're probably looking at similar funding next year, around $4 million again," said Ferry. He continued that programs like this "will be a big boon for cars like the Nissan Leaf when it becomes available, because it is a good chunk of the total price of the car."

Source: The New York Times, Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, CARB

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