One California state senator wants to make sure electric vehicles aren't just for the jewelry-rattlers anymore. California State Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) proposed a bill last month that is designed to put plug-in vehicles within reach of those with more moderate incomes than your typical Tesla buyer. It's called the Charge Ahead California Initiative and the bill may cross Governor Jerry Brown's desk as soon as next month.

In addition to the state's current $2,500 rebate for EV buyers, State Bill 1275 would provide as much as another $3,000 for moderate-income residents retiring an old car in exchange for a new plug-in. And for those lower-income residents not looking for an EV, the state may provide $3,000 in credits towards a public-transit pass or car-sharing membership for those retiring a clunker.

The flip side is that the bill would also dictate that those on the wealthier end of the income scale would no longer be eligible for the $2,500 state-funded EV rebate. The idea of not helping the wealthy quite so much to buy EVs with public money was tested in May when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was talking about eliminating the state's $2,500 electric-vehicle rebates to buyers of EVs with MSRPs of at least $60,000 (we could theoretically call it the Tesla Rule), but CARB followed up by saying that proposed price limit on rebates won't see the light of day anytime soon.

Credit-rating firm Experian released a report this spring saying that that electric-vehicle owners tend to be both younger and wealthier than hybrid-vehicle drivers, and have better credit as well. In fact, more than one in five EV buyers boasted a household income of at least $175,000, whereas about 12 percent of hybrid buyers had that kind of annual cash rolling in. So with the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project running out of its most recent round of funds in April (the Los Angeles Times says a new infusion of $121 million will go into effect for the upcoming fiscal year), the idea of revisiting the rebate program and how the money is distributed will remain important. Check out the press release from de Leon below.
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ELECTRIC VEHICLES REBATE/LOAN/FINANCING OPTIONS PROPOSED FOR LOW-INCOME CALIFORNIANS

East Los Angeles Charged Up about Electric Vehicles

Rebate/Loan/Financing Options Proposed for Low-Income Californians

EAST LOS ANGELES – Community members joined Senate President pro Tempore-elect Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) on Sunday, June 29, 2014 to learn about how electric vehicles can reduce air pollution, improve health and save working families money in communities throughout California that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution.

The Electric Vehicle Fair, held in conjunction with a Senior Health Fair hosted by White Memorial Medical Center, provided community members with a first-time opportunity to check out electric cars and learn about rebate, loan and financing options, as well as learn about electric trucks and buses, and to envision a clean air future for East Los Angeles.

"To clean up our dirty air, we need to make electric cars more accessible for our middle-and low-income families, not just the wealthy," said Senator De León. "By increasing targeted rebate, loan and carpooling/van sharing programs, California can lead the way for a cleaner and healthier environment."

Sunday's Fair introduced East Los Angeles to the Charge Ahead California campaign to put 1 million electric vehicles on California roads in the next decade, and ensure that low-income households benefit from zero tailpipe emissions. The Charge Ahead California campaign is leading the effort which inspired Senate Bill 1275 (De León), which is supported by the Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, The Greenlining Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Most recently, on June 23, 2014, SB 1275 was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, after passing through the full Senate in late May with strong bi-partisan support.

"Pollution from the production and burning of fossil fuels impacts the health and well being of Californians-especially low income communities of color," said Roberto Cabrales, community organizer with Communities for a Better Environment. "We want to ensure all Californians, regardless of income, can access to clean transportation."

Everyone-from children to senior citizens-is impacted by air pollution. Sunday's event offered activities for all age groups, with children coloring pictures of clean electric cars to adults competing for prizes in lively games of "Charge Ahead Loteria," an electric vehicle themed version of the popular game of chance.

"It's great to see Angelenos embracing electric vehicles as our future because we cannot leave the health of our planet or our communities to chance," said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California. "It's time to charge ahead, break our dependence on oil, clean up our air, improve our health and protect our climate."

The Electric Vehicle Fair came just two days after the Los Angeles City Council voted to endorse SB 1275, the Charge Ahead California sponsored legislation.

The electric cars for the event were provided by Camino Real Chevrolet in Monterey Park, Central Ford in South Gate, and Glendale Nissan.


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  • 22 Comments
      electric-car-insider
      • 7 Months Ago
      Whatever your position on electric cars, the one irrefutable advantage is that they will not pollute more over time as they become out of tune, get clogged injectors, or burn oil.
        scraejtp
        • 7 Months Ago
        @electric-car-insider
        Vehicles are put through EOL testing to check emissions, but that does assume that normal maintenance is performed. Electric cars are no doubt cleaner, and I would expect longer lifespans for the vehicle as well.
      thecommentator2013
      • 7 Months Ago
      Wow...and americans worry about the People's Republic of China...lol How absurd is THAT?!
      • 7 Months Ago
      California State Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) does nothing in the Ca state senate but think of ways to spend or transfer other peoples money, and usually he wants to transfer it to himself or the LIBERAL DEMOCRAT freebie gimmee people in Ca. illegally. He cant be removed from office soon enough!!!
      Levine Levine
      • 7 Months Ago
      The People's Republic of California always have plans to "efficiently" spend your tax money. The State is still insolvent despite creative financing and Federal bailouts; has the heaviest, onerous and most numerous taxes; and is the most corrupt in the Union.
        jsongster
        • 23 Days Ago
        @Levine Levine

        The state is not insolvent... its residents were smart enough to cover the debt with a tax increase. We are doing fine. Especially when compared with the ignorant red states run by the hack and slash republican governors. The repuglickers are too busy screwing up their states healthcare, and education systems to even think about the fantastic programs we have here in sunny California. But please keep spreading this nonsense... keeps us from getting too overcrowded from all the folks who'd want to come live here if they only knew how good it gets!

        Cheers!

        gpmp
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        BS http://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Detail/2814 "Our forecast indicates that, absent any changes to current laws and policies, the state would end 2014-15 with a multibillion-dollar reserve." And please educate us on those Federal bailouts, because I don't know of any. I think you're either making it up to fit what you already believe or are listening to to people who are manipulating you.
          EVnerdGene
          • 7 Months Ago
          @gpmp
          If you don't make serious effort and progress to pay down your debt: 1. Your credit rating will go down. 2. Eventually your creditors will cut you off. 3. You will crash and burn. hmmm; sounds like ancient Rome, 1923 Germany, and more recently Argentina and Greece. ( even though California cannot print money, in affect that's what they're doing with all of their bond issues )
          EVnerdGene
          • 7 Months Ago
          @gpmp
          gpmp, not sure you know the difference between a reserve, an annual surplus, and long-term debt. This source says $340 BILLION in long-term debt. http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/confused-guv-brown-claims-state-debt-is-30-billion-lao-says-state-debt-is-340-billion/ I also found a Federal website that says $422 Billion. And we're not even sure these include dozens if not hundreds of bond issues California has done in the past twenty years to finance their current spending. Every time I reviewed bond proposals, I always thought 'isn't this something we should be paying for as we go?'. So I voted against every one of them. Reduce you f'ing spending on foolishness California. Like subsidizing cars for people that can afford $70,000-$110,000 cars.
          gpmp
          • 7 Months Ago
          @gpmp
          My original comment answered the claim that "The State is still insolvent despite creative financing and Federal bailouts" You seem to be responding to something along the lines of "California is in debt and that it either can't or won't pay it back". I stand by my original statement.
          gpmp
          • 7 Months Ago
          @gpmp
          Having long term debt doesn't make California (or any other state for that matter) insolvent. I have a mortgage on my house, and the income to service it until it is paid off. It doesn't mean my family is insolvent.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 7 Months Ago
      This is more in line with how the subsidies should be given out. The wealthy, who have no problem splashing out $60k or more for a new car, don't need a subsidy at all. The working poor, however, benefit the most by having a vehicle that eliminates the need to buy gasoline.
        thecommentator2013
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        @Lets... But they aren't willing to pay for the tech. So, why should other people finance the not-so-wealthy?
        GoodCheer
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        I agree. Or we could go one step less revenue negative, and just offer very low interest loans to those who would have to pay the most interest, on the premise that fuel savings will make them economical. I suspect the very wealthy mostly just pay cash anyway. Or a little from column a, and a little from column b.
          paulwesterberg
          • 7 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          The working poor can't really afford a new vehicle electric or otherwise.
          scraejtp
          • 7 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          @Letstakeawalk The working poor that buy a full-size SUV or extra sized pickups are poor decision makers. These vehicles are not cheaper than compact or even mid-sized fuel efficient cars as you suggest.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 7 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          There is a difference between being working poor and having bad credit. Lower interest rates are nice, but lowering the initial upfront cost is better. Lets get them out of those clapped-out gas guzzlers. It's really surprising how many working poor buy the least fuel efficient vehicles (full-size SUVs, extra-sized pickups) because those are the cheapest vehicles on the lot. Entry cost is a huge barrier.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 7 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          Perhaps we live in different markets. Around here, you can buy beater Suburbans and four-door Ford pick-ups (not to mention full-size conversion vans) under $5000 all day long. Then, there's the insanely huge market in used Crown Vics. Old taxis and police cars are freaking everywhere, being driven by the working poor.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 7 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          If the working poor weren't tethered to $200 worth of gasoline costs every month, a $15,000 Leaf would be very affordable.
      EVnerdGene
      • 7 Months Ago
      " From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. "
        EVnerdGene
        • 7 Months Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        huh ? In case you don't know, I was quoting Karl Marx. Here's another; " The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third. " Voltaire
        thecommentator2013
        • 7 Months Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        @EV... As long as I am not forced to live by that standard...it's ok with me.. Because it's not about needs and capabilites. It's about freedom (or the lack thereof)
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