California has a statewide initiative to promote clean motor vehicles by offering cash rebates to qualifying residents looking for zero-emission vehicles to buy or lease. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) offers up to $7,000 in rebates for new, zero-emission vehicles such as electric cars, hybrid cars, and fuel cell vehicles.
The official site for CVRP says the project is open to eligible applicants, “as long as funds are available”. CVRP offers rebates after the purchase of a qualifying vehicle.
How Clean Air Vehicle Program Works
In order to claim a rebate under CVRP, you must purchase an approved automobile that is on the current CVRP list, which is found on the CVRP official site. This list is subject to change but in the past qualifying makes and models have included, but are not limited to:
- Honda Clarity
- Hyundai Nexo
- Toyota Mirai
- Audi Q4 e-tron Quattro
- Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback Quattro
- BMW i3
- Chevrolet Bolt EUV
- Ford F-150 Lightning
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Hyundai Ioniq 5
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Kia EV6
- Kia Niro Electric
- Mercedes Benz EQB 300-4M
- MINI Cooper SE
- Nissan LEAF
An extensive list can be found at Cleanvehiclerebate.org
It is a mistake to proceed with a purchase today without checking the list to ensure your make and model is still approved for rebates. We mention this because over time, certain makes and models of electric vehicles, such as Tesla, have fallen off the approved list over pricing issues or other concerns.
You will apply for your CVRP rebate after purchase or leasing. When the time comes to apply, take the following steps.
- Submit an CVRP application online.
- Make a note of your application number–you’ll need it later.
- You will need to submit “supporting documents” online including vehicle registration and current unexpired drivers license.
- Submit your supporting documents within 14 calendar days of application date.
- Be sure to check your status online frequently–if there is an issue with your application you have a ten calendar day window of opportunity to correct the problem before your application is automatically canceled.
- Extensions will not be granted.
- Eligibility is based on the Terms and Conditions in effect at application time.
To apply for this program, you must meet eligibility requirements including an income limit, residency requirements, and the need to submit an application before the current round of funding has been exhausted. In order to claim a CVRP rebate you must apply for it within three months of the purchase of the qualifying vehicle.
CVRP is administered by The Center for Sustainable Energy, on behalf of the California Air Resources Board. The project is offered on a funds-available basis, but if the program is not fully funded when you apply, there is a waiting list option. In cases where rebate funds are available at the time you apply a rebate may be reserved for you.
This project features income caps; you cannot qualify for these rebates if you earn more than the income caps established for all vehicles except for electric fuel cell models. Typically an individual cannot earn more than $135,000 per year to qualify for some of the rebate options; in some cases that cap may be higher.
What follows is for example purposes only. These amounts are subject to change based on program funding, state law, and other variables. These numbers are current at press time but do not consider this a guarantee that the numbers below will apply when you are ready to claim a rebate.
At press time, the “standard” CVRP rebate sent directly to the consumer is between $1,000 and $4,500. There is an increased rebate offered to those who meet certain household income limits. The official site advises consumers to check city and state resources to see if there are additional financial incentives offered for your purchase or lease of an electric vehicle.
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Joe Wallace has been covering real estate, mortgage and financial topics since 1995. His work has appeared on ABC, The Pentagon Channel, Veteran.com plus a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.