Cars that are powered by electricity can cost twice as much as their gas-powered equivalents, but the California Electric Vehicle Initiative could change that.
Democratic California Assemblyman Phil Ting has unveiled a bill in San Francisco that would reduce the cost of an electric vehicle to match a similar gas car through a state-funded rebate.
AB-1184, as it's officially known, would also make the rebate available at the time of purchase. Currently, California buyers of low and no-emissions vehicles apply for money back through the Air Resources Board's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, which refunds buyers and lessees between $1,500 to $5,000, based on a vehicle's battery size.
The new legislation would replace the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project in an effort to encourage EV sales at a time when the federal tax credit for EVs is beginning to phase out. The $7,500 federal tax credit starts to go away once a manufacturer has reached 200,000 registered EVs in the U.S. -- a threshold both General Motors and Tesla are expected to hit in 2018.
There are currently about 300,000 registered electric vehicles in California, more than six years after the first modern-day EVs came on the market. While California is the largest market for EVs, they account for less than one percent of new vehicle sales. Those numbers fall far short of Governor Jerry Brown's goal of 1.5 million EVs by 2025 and 5 million by 2030 -- a key target in meeting the state's ambitious climate goals.
Funded with $3 billion diverted from existing sources, Ting says the bill is necessary to increase EV sales and help drive down their cost.