There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that can substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV or Plug-In Hybrid. CURRENT EV provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.
Incentive 1: is the Federal Tax Credit of up to $7500 Credit for EV's, less for PHEVs. All-Electric Battery powered EVs and most Extended Range EVs and Plug-in Hybrids are eligible for this incentive. It works two ways. 1.) If you are purchasing your EV, then you would be able to take up to a $7500 tax credit on your income tax for the year you purchase the car. 2.) If you are leasing, then the dealer can take some or all of the tax credit and reduce the price of the car by that amount which substantially reduces the lease cost. This incentive is subject to a cap of 200,000 vehicles sold or leased per manufacturer. Once the cap is reached, then the incentive is reduced to $3750 in the first two quarters and then is reduced again to $1875 in the last two quarters and then is terminated for that manufacturer. So far, Tesla and Chevrolet have surpassed the cap and the tax credit for both are no longer available.
Incentive 2: is the California State Clean Air Vehicle Rebate that applies to anyone who buys or leases a qualifying EV. The State of California issues a rebate check ranging from $1000 to $5000 depending on which car you lease or purchase. (Zero emission Fuel Cell vehicles can get $5000; Battery EVs get $2000 and Extended Range EVs and Plug-in Hybrids get $1000.) If you lease, the term of the lease must be a minimum of 30 months in order to qualify. As of January 1, 2017, eligibility for this rebate is restricted to individuals who make less than $150,000 per year or $300,000 per year if filing taxes jointly.
Incentive 3: applies to people who live in certain zip codes that are designated as "disadvantaged" areas and who have a household income at or below 225% of the federal poverty level. They would also have to turn in an old clunker as part of this process. If they meet all requirements they would be eligible for up to $9500 toward a new or used EV or Plug-in hybrid. And if they purchase a new EV, they would also be eligible for up to another $2000 State rebate – the same as in Incentive 2 above. Thus the total eligible dollars available is $11,500. This would allow a purchase of a new EV whose MSRP is as low as $21,000 to be acquired for $9500. If this purchaser was also eligible for the $7500 tax credit, the effective savings would be $19,500 and the cost to purchase the vehicle would only be $2000 out of pocket. If the car was a used EV, the $7500 tax credit would not apply but the $12,000 total incentive could effectively render the cost of that used car to be $0 since many used EVs are currently priced in the $6,000 to $12,000 range. In addition to this, an eligible buyer could also receive up to $2000 toward the purchase and installation of a charger.
Incentive 4: DMV Clean Air Vehicle program provides HOV stickers to EVs and Plug-in Hybrids that allows drivers with no passengers to use the HOV lanes on CA Freeways. In addition to this, some cities, like Santa Monica, allow EVs with these stickers to park at meters free of charge.