Californian & Make $250,000/Year? $2,500 EV Rebate No Can Haz

Via EV Obsession:

As I wrote the other day, the rich disproportionately benefit from federal EV tax credits. For that matter, it is primarily the rich who are early adopters and who are buying electric cars. That also means that it’s the rich who are most benefiting from the $2,500 California EV rebate.

Model X White

This has more than a few people irritated. More importantly, it irritated some powerful people in California enough that they just limited the rebate to people making less than $250,000 a year. (Such high-earning individuals have 4–6 months from June 25 to purchase an EV and still get the credit.)

2014 legislation (SB 1275) authored by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) kicked off the legislative push for this change. Less specifically, it also pushes electric purchasing or driving assistance for low-income residents and for “communities most impacted by air and climate pollution.”

Planetizen writes:

“Money for the subsidies comes from a surcharge on vehicle registration fees and a portion of the smog fee paid by California motorists,” adds McGreevy. In other words, a small percentage of the flat, i.e., doesn’t vary with the type or year of vehicle, registration and smog fees for an old vehicle paid by a low-income motorist, goes to subsidize wealthy motorists who purchase new, expensive electric vehicles (EVs) – not exactly an equitable situation. 

The rebate subsidies come from the California Clean Vehicle Retirement Project. Rebates for eligible vehicles range from $900 to $5,000, with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), e.g., Chevy Volt, receiving $1,500, and all-electrics, e.g., Nissan Leaf, receiving $2,500.

Well, I don’t think many people can really complain about the change. If you are making over $250,000 a year and are complaining about no longer getting a $2,500 credit on a Tesla, with that cash coming from a mixture of high-income, medium-income, and low-income residents, you should really learn to shut your trap.

Ironically, dirty, expensive fuel cell vehicles are still eligible for a higher, $5,000 grant. (#WTF?)

Zachary Shahan

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.