Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

California's electric car rebate program gets $27 million boost in funding

The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, the source of the $2500 of additional incentives for electric car purchases, which was running low on funding, received new funding from the Air Resources Board.

California and its concern for air pollution has been at the forefront of pushing for clean vehicle technology. One of that states programs, the Air Quality Improvement Program, provides funds under the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for the $2500 rebate California offers for electric car purchases on top of the $7500 federal tax credit. The funds in that program, which had shrunk to $3,368,013, just received a massive infusion of over $27 million in new funding from the Air Resources Board and $5 million from the California Energy Commission.

The program began in March 2010 with an initial pool of $4.1 million, and is administered by the California Center for Sustainable Energy. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project works to "promote the production and use of zero-emission vehicles" including all electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. A long list of vehicles are listed by the CVRP as qualifying for the rebates. The value of the rebate is up to $2500, but varies to as little as $900 depending on the vehicle type and characteristics.

“This unique incentive program makes ultra-clean cars affordable for more Californians, helps slash smog-forming pollution and cuts greenhouse gas emissions. By expanding the market for the world’s most advanced technology vehicles California remains the global center for clean cars, and generates a wide range of new jobs to manufacture, service and fuel them,” said CARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols.

The new funding is $27 million from the Air Resources Board, and $5 million from the California Energy Commission. There will also be an additional $10 million in incentives for hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses. Another $2 million will be used for advanced-technology demonstration projects for commercialization of new vehicle and equipment technologies.

Since this program began in 2008 there have been more than 7,500 passenger cars and over a thousand trucks or buses purchases which received rebates through the Air Quality Improvement Program. It is a voluntary incentive program that is allowed, by law, to dispense up to $40 million per year, depending on revenues, on clean vehicle incentives that meet long-term air quality and climate change goals.

Eligible vehicles run the gamut of the available electric and fuel cell cars, trucks and motorcycles. It's not just the popular, well-known, vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, but lesser known ones such as the Wheego LiFe. The list includes electric motorcycles such as Brammo Enertia, Vectrix MaxiScooter, and Zero's full range.

The program is meant to not only speed adoption of ultra-clean vehicles, but to support the Advanced Clean Car regulations adopted by CARB earlier this year. Those regulations in turn build on California's tough standards meant to reduce smog-forming and green house gas pollution emissions. Among the existing regulations is one requiring that one of seven new cars sold in California in 2025 (and beyond) be zero emissions. The CVRP is one of several consumer incentives funded under California Alternative and Renewable Fuel, Vehicle Technology, Clean Air, and Carbon Reduction Act of 2007 (AB 118).

California expects that investments like this will prime the market in a way that will lead to mass adoption of clean vehicle technology such as electric cars.

Information and application forms are on the CVRP website at

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I keep wondering where all this money comes from. California is $17 billion in debt. How are they funding this stuff?
Is this rebate good for 2012 taxes? Is there a rebate given if your car no longer past the smog test and you"re forced to buy another car? Thxs