• Jan 3, 2011
If you're a California resident looking to cash in on the $5,000 tax rebate for the purchase of a plug-in vehicle, you'd better act quickly. Jay Frieland, legislative director of Plug In America, told the Los Angeles Times that the rebate is likely to run out by the middle of 2011. In August 2010, Mike Ferry, transportation programs manager of California's Center for Sustainable Energy, the group that manages the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, estimated there would be $8 million remaining in the rebate fund come December 2010. The fund, set up by the California Air Resource Board, gives the purchaser of each eligible plug-in bought in California $5,000, and the fund has enough to cover about 1,600 vehicles. According to Friedland, "There's likely to be more than that sold before July. We believe the rebates will run out."

If you do decide to buy, there are a couple of things you should be aware of. First, it is a tax rebate, so you won't be able to claim the money until you file for taxes. Secondly, there is the matter of buying vs. leasing and if you lease a Nissan Leaf (for example) will get you the full rebate amount instantly since it is factored into the lease agreement. With the wait times for both the Chevy Volt and Leaf being several months or longer, if you don't already have a reservation, you might find yourself out of luck.

[Source: Los Angeles Times via All Cars Electric]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 12 Hours Ago
      The rebate can be considered a success: It might have given people who otherwise might have overlooked a plug-in vehicle a valid reason to purchase one.

      Both manufacturers (GM and Nissan) report that sales are strong and reservations are full - so dropping the rebate after it accomplished its goal of stoking plug-in sales is the right thing to do.

      Plug-ins will be able to stand (and sell) on their own merits in the market, after all.
        • 12 Hours Ago
        I would go the other way. The early adopters would buy these cars no matter what, similiar to what happens with the latest smart phone. Why not offer these rebates after demand wanes if the purpose is to stoke demand?
        • 12 Hours Ago
        I would go the other way. The early adopters would buy these cars no matter what, similiar to what happens with the latest smart phone. Why not offer these rebates after demand wanes if the purpose is to stoke demand?
        • 12 Hours Ago
        I agree Throwback - people would have bought those cars even without the lure of the rebates.

        Personally, I've advocated rebates based on income - the people who can least afford to buy a brand-new car are likely to be the ones who would benefit the most from a lower fuel cost.

        Effectively, the rebate only makes rich people richer.

        Offering a rebate when demand is low is how the market already works - only the automakers and the dealers do it instead of the government.

        Of course, we all agree that plug-ins are the future, and that their benefits are obvious - so why would there ever be a waning of demand once the market is primed? No need for rebates from here on, IMHO.
      • 12 Hours Ago
      The Volt should not be included in this article as its tailpipe emissions when running on gasoline are too high to qualify for the California rebate.

      Only the Leaf and true electric cars currently qualify. The Plug-in Prius may also qualify if the rebates are still around when it comes out, due to lower tailpipe emissions.
      • 12 Hours Ago
      Since it's California, can't they just borrow some money and continue to fund the rebate? They seem to do that for every other program.
      • 12 Hours Ago
      Volt doesn't qualify for the $5,000 because it is not an EV. It is a hybrid with pretty high emission (ULEV) so it doesn't qualify.
      • 12 Hours Ago
      "First, it is a tax rebate, so you won't be able to claim the money until you file for taxes. Secondly, there is the matter of buying vs. leasing and if you lease a Nissan Leaf (for example) will get you the full rebate amount instantly since it is factored into the lease agreement."
      This is incorrect. The Federal $7,500 tax credit works this way, but the California $5,000 rebate is just that - a rebate. For example, from http://www.plugincars.com/essential-facts-about-california-electric-car-rebates-49793.html:

      "Right now, when we receive an online application, I’ll get back to the applicant within two to three days, with either initial approval or disapproval. After that, we’re waiting for their paperwork to be mailed in. Then, it takes between one and two weeks to send a check."
        • 12 Hours Ago
        Yep, Jason is right. And ABG gets a basic detail wrong (again). I don't think they do any fact checking at all!