In April, we heard about a discussion within the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that would have put a $60,000 MSRP limit on plug-in vehicles that would qualify for CARB's $2,500 rebates. A new report in Silicon Beat says that CARB is once again ready to give EV money to everyone, no matter what expensive car they buy.

There's no question that the CARB proposal would have had an inordinate effect on Tesla Motors, the only company selling a EV expensive enough to cost more than $60,000, the Tesla Model S. Okay, the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid would also have been affected, but that only would have applied to a small handful of people.

According to Silicon Beat, the updated CARB proposal says clearly that, "at this time staff is not proposing any significant changes to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project as part of this year's Initial Funding Plan." CARB spokesman David Clegern told Silicon Beat that, "It's fair to say [the $60,000 limit] been removed. I never say anything is dead until after the vote, but I'm not aware of any plans to revisit it." In other words, Tesla, you're good to go.

We've asked CARB for confirmation of this, but have not yet heard back.


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  • 26 Comments
      mylexicon
      • 2 Days Ago
      They had the right idea, but the regulation was almost unenforceable and it would have led to unintended consequences.
        Nick Kordich
        • 2 Days Ago
        @mylexicon
        In what was would the regulation be almost unenforceable?
        Richard
        • 2 Days Ago
        @mylexicon
        I'd like to understand why it would not be unenforceable? And consequences?
          Nick Kordich
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Richard
          @Richard: Jinx. @mylexicon: Here's how the current rebate works: you go to the following web site, select a qualifying car and submit your VIN and dealer contact information. The California Center for Sustainable Energy evaluates what you've submitted, presumably checking the information against your registration and the information the dealer provides. If you qualify, you receive a check in the mail. https://energycenter.org/clean-vehicle-rebate-project The FAQ on the site mentions that part of receipt of the rebate requires that you keep the vehicle in service in California for three years - the point is to improve California air quality, which this doesn't do if you turn around and sell the car to someone in New York after getting your check: "ARB will be periodically checking vehicle identification numbers with vehicle registrations to ensure that CVRP applicants meet this requirement. If an applicant breaks this requirement, ARB or its designee reserves the right to recoup CVRP funds from the original vehicle purchaser identified on the rebate form and may pursue other remedies available under the law. Resale of a vehicle or return to a dealer may be allowed on a case-by-case basis with prior approval by the ARB for unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances." If that's enforceable, I don't see how filtering out sales of vehicles over $60,000 is unenforceable. They would just take the Model S and ELR off the web page and eliminate invalid requests that way. There might sales on the border that could involve deception. EVs with a base price under $60,000 would be on the list, but if the final price is over $60k, perhaps they wouldn't qualify. Those would be caught when they check the information against the dealer's, unless the dealer is committing sales tax evasion and other financial crimes, as well. Adding a price cap just doesn't seem to make it significantly more difficult to enforce.
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Days Ago
      Yes, taxpayers should continue to subsidize the rich and their $100,000 EVs.
        aatheus
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        And subsidize cleaner air due to these people not driving massively polluting supercars.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Short sighted! Subsidies are rarely, if ever, intended for the direct recipient. The money is paid to the automakers, at the time of purchase. This does help the buyer, since he/she gets the car for a cheaper price. This helps the seller even more, since the automaker has a larger demand over time, since more buyers can afford the initially high price. This eventually helps everyone, since automakers can increase production, since demand was increased from the subsidy.... and thereby lower prices for subsequent models.
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          If your getting money from someone else for free, your not affording it. This is Stealing.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          The customer doesn't get "money"... they are getting a discount.... they can never "make money" on this. The difference between earning/stealing, and saving/subsidy. Oh... how do you like this Internet you are using to communicate on this blog? All that network infrastructure was government subsidized and developed originally... now, it is run by private industry.... but we've only come so far, so fast, because government paid for it with public money.
        TurboFroggy
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        And continue to subsidize the largest and most profitable companies on earth, oil companies.
      Weapon
      • 2 Days Ago
      I suggest limiting that battery size be 35+ miles of EV range to qualify. And cutting off fool cells.
        itsme38269
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Weapon
        There already is a limit - full EVs get 2500, plug-in hybrids get 1500, neighborhood vehicles and motorcycles get 900. And the federal credit is 2,500 for 5kWh, and then another 500 or something for each kWh after that up to the max of 7,500. This is why the plug-in prius cynically has only 5kWh of battery in it, so it can take advantage of credits without Toyota actually having to put any serious thought into EV technology.
          Weapon
          • 2 Days Ago
          @itsme38269
          I am aware that there are limits. I am saying California should make credits for cars with under 35 miles of electric range 0$. (This is an intentional plug at Toyota who is moving away from California)
          canuckinaz
          • 2 Days Ago
          @itsme38269
          The federal tax credit starts at 4 kWh, not 5. And the PIP has a 4.4 kWh pack, also not a 5.
          Rotation
          • 2 Days Ago
          @itsme38269
          Weapon, I think they jacked it up to 20 miles now. I agree they should raise it to about 40. And the car should be able to reasonably drive on the highway on all electric. This is something the PiP can't do well either, although I'm sure the next one will be better. No stickers, no rebates.
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Days Ago
          @itsme38269
          The state tax credit for plug-in hybrids is lower, the federal tax credit is based on how many kWh the battery holds so the manufacturer needs to include 16kWh(approx 35+ miles) to ensure the maximum credit.
      Spec
      • 2 Days Ago
      Hey, I actually saw an ELR today. Someone bought one! ;-) Considering that Tesla is now California's biggest automotive employer . . . there was no way this was going to pass. And why should it? The Tesla buyers still pay far more money in California sales tax than they will get back with the puny $2500 rebate. So just think of it as a slight discount on the sales tax of Tesla.
      Rotation
      • 2 Days Ago
      Probably would have been a good idea. Yet another optimization squeezed out by politics.
        JakeY
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Rotation
        I don't see any politics involved. The main opposition to this change was Plug-in America which is a non-profit non-political group. And if you go by the CARB study (which is not a whole lot to go on for cutting off a large portion of the EV market from this rebate), the rebate still has a significant effect (17%) even on the higher end of the price range. The other point is that the amount of pollution that one of the higher end cars displaces can be a lot more than the lower end (given they tend to replace more expensive gas guzzling cars).
          Rotation
          • 2 Days Ago
          @JakeY
          For a given amount of money (which is what they have), giving it to people where it has a smaller effect makes no sense. You can just give it to others where it has better effect (about 4x). Like I said, an optimization. They tend to displace more gas guzzling cars at the higher end? Like there aren't gas guzzlers at the low end? In the US, you don't have to pay $80K to get a car that uses a lot of gas. And with 1/4 the success rate, you'd have to be replacing cars that get 6.125mpg or lower to be a better idea than spending the money to try to replace average cars (25.5mpg). I don't see plug-in America listing the issue on their political issues page at all. Do you seriously believe the primary opposition is anyone but Tesla?
          JakeY
          • 2 Days Ago
          @JakeY
          @Rotation "I don't see plug-in America listing the issue on their political issues page at all. Do you seriously believe the primary opposition is anyone but Tesla?" I'm just going by the facts. Plug-in America actually issued a statement against this policy: http://green.autoblog.com/2014/04/11/california-could-put-60-000-mrsp-limit-on-ev-tax-rebates/ Tesla didn't even officially comment on it. "For a given amount of money (which is what they have), giving it to people where it has a smaller effect makes no sense. You can just give it to others where it has better effect (about 4x)." That's assuming the CARB study is 100% accurate and ignoring the flaws of it (for example bunching 0-3% of vehicle price into a single category whereas for all the others it's just over a 1% range). And I don't get where you get 4x. Even in the worse case, the most "optimal" point is at 55%, the "worst" point is at 17% (which again incorporates a much wider price range), which is a 3x multiplier. " Like there aren't gas guzzlers at the low end?" What kind of cars do people replace with a Leaf and similar vehicles? It's unlikely to be a large sedan or an SUV (given the Leaf and similar vehicles simply don't have the passenger/cargo space of those types of vehicles). Most likely it's a hybrid in the first place or at least a compact car (that would get 30mpg easily). And again the "1/4 success rate" (even ignoring that the math is wrong) is misleading. The state is paying $2.5k in both cases regardless of the price of the vehicle, except that the $2.5k they are paying to Tesla owners will on average displace more inefficient vehicles.
          Rotation
          • 2 Days Ago
          @JakeY
          "that's assuming the study is accurate". Give me a break. Just disbelieving anything that doesn't support your argument doesn't make it any stronger. As to 4x, I guess you're right, it's only about 3x. I guess I read almost 60% as almost 80% when I was looking at the graph. What kind of cars do people replace with Leafs? My other car is a Cadillac. And I've never owned a hybrid. And I have a friend who bought a Model S to replace his over 10 year old Saturn SL1. Trying to jimmy the figures and implying that Leaf owners only use them to replace high mpg cars is crazy. Unless you want to use a study, then I think you're going to have to assume the replaced cars are average. The 1/4 success rate is not misleading. It should be 1/3 due to my math error, but otherwise it is accurate. The $2500 is 3x as effective on a cheap car than an expensive one. So you have a better chance that that $2500 was well spent (meaning it caused a sale of an EV that otherwise wouldn't have happened). That means that one $2500 is on average doing more good than others. That money is working harder, so for a given poll of money you get more result from using it on the cheaper cars (on average).
      treehugger.inc
      • 2 Days Ago
      Did they figure out that this would automatically exclude all fool cell cars for the foreseeable future? Can't let that happen, can we.
      Ziv
      • 2 Days Ago
      It wouldn't hurt to limit the MSRP to $40,000. Make the credit target the people that will be most likely to change behaviour due to the credit. $7500/$29,000 is a bigger driver than $7500/$80,000.
        Spec
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Ziv
        This is for the California $2500 (ZEVs) and $1500 (PHEVs)
      usugo
      • 2 Days Ago
      Some bureaucrats are going to have a very handsome discount on their special edition Tesla! It is always good to be rich, or at least a corruptible bureaucrat.
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