The $7,500 bonus credit that plug-in vehicle drivers will be able to get in Lansing, MI is indeed real, and it's even better than we first reported. Officially called the Lansing Board of Water and Light Electric Vehicle Community Project (see this PDF), the rebates funded from a $750,000 federal grant (to be matched with local funds for $1.5 million total) will be able to be used for any plug-in vehicle that qualifies for the federal tax rebate, not just the Chevrolet Volt. And, unlike the $7,500 federal rebate that is available nationwide, the LBWL incentive is a straight-up cash payment that qualified plug-in vehicle buyers will get. As Angie Goodman, assistant project manager for the project told AutoblogGreen, "We will meet you at closing with a check for up to $7,500, so you can use it right then." The "up to" means that the utility will match whatever money you get from the feds, and that rebate tops out at $7,500. Also, she wanted to make clear that LBWL customers will not see a rate increase because of this program.
Goodman said all the program details are still being worked on, but what's important is that the LBWL really wants to encourage this project, part of the Plug-in Michigan Initiative, and thought that this was the best way to take the sting out of people's sticker shock. Here is how the program will most likely work, pending final approval.
- As stated, only 25 people will get the money (as well as free home and work chargers), and Goodman said that number was chosen because the Volt will only be available in limited numbers at first. The utility is working with General Motors to bring some of the Volts to Lansing in the spring and the rest in the fall of 2011.
- If someone wants to go buy a Nissan Leaf (and Michigan is not part of that car's early roll-out program) and truck it into the utility's coverage area, they can qualify for the money.
- In exchange for the $7,500, drivers will need to allow the utility to access their charging data and put small stickers on the car notifying people that it is part of the LBWL community project. Also, they need to be willing to talk to people who ask about the car and the program.
- The 25 people will each get two chargers, one at home and one at their workplace. The utility is working with local townships, the city of Lansing and East Lansing and schools to get public chargers installed.
- The program will run for at least three years (maybe five) depending on how long the federal government says it wants to collect data for.