California is about to begin testing a new “point of sale” clean vehicle rebate plan in San Diego. Under the present rules, people who purchase a qualifying EV can get a check back from the state for up to $7,000, depending on their income level. California started indexing its rebate program to income level a few years ago to avoid the charge that the incentives the state was offering were mostly benefiting wealthy tech tycoons and Hollywood stars replacing their Porsches with Teslas. The state is much more interested in encouraging low-income families to give up their inefficient and pollution-belching commuter cars and drive a low- or zero-emissions (and far safer) car instead.
The problem with the current system is that the customer must first buy the car and pay for it before the rebate check goes in the mail. A point of sale plan would lower the purchase price of the car immediately and lower the monthly purchase payment right from the get go. Customers would pre-qualify for the rebate by submitting their income information in advance and getting their level of eligibility determined before they go shopping for a new vehicle.