If you're of the opinion that current federal and state support for electric vehicle shoppers in the US are really just hand-outs to the already well-to-do, you might like what California State Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) is up to. De Leon sponsored a bill earlier this year called the Charge Ahead California Initiative (State Bill 1275) which today passed the California Assembly by a vote of 46-23. The state Senate is expected to send the bill to Governor Edmund Brown soon.

The bill will "establish an income cap to stretch valuable public dollars to incentivize clean car purchases that would not otherwise occur."

What does Charge Ahead do differently? Well, it changes the already-popular and effective Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) that hands out $2,500 to zero-emission vehicle purchasers to not only have a bigger funding pile but also to "establish an income cap to stretch valuable public dollars to incentivize clean car purchases that would not otherwise occur, and would step down rebate levels over time as technology costs decrease." The bill has ways to encourage going green as well as going car-free. If you are in the "low-income" category, then you can get a minimum of $2,500 for cashing in your clunker for a ZEV. If, on the other hand, you're a low-income resident getting rid of a car to shift to the car-free/carsharing lifestyle, then you will get a minimum of $1,500. All others get, at most, $1,000. These amounts are less than previously reported, but the final bill has not yet been signed. SB 1275 also supports new carsharing programs, new EV charging stations and, "provides access to financing options that would lower combined monthly car payments and fuel costs."

You can learn more about Charge Ahead in this PDF, read the bill here and see a press release below.
Show full PR text
California Assembly Passes Million Electric Vehicles Bill, Rebates for Low-Income Californians

Senate passed bill in May, expected to cast final vote to send bill to Governor

SACRAMENTO –The Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275) cleared a critical hurdle today in passing the California Assembly by a vote of 46-23, putting the measure in a strong position to become law. The Senate, which overwhelmingly supported the bill authored by Senate President pro Tem-elect Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) in May, is expected to cast the final vote this month and send the bill to Governor Edmund G. Brown for signature.

Charge Ahead California puts the state on a path to one million zero-emission cars, trucks, and buses on our roadways-about ten times the current number-by 2023.

De León developed the legislation with the Charge Ahead California steering committee, a coalition of community-based organizations and conservation groups working together to expand clean transportation, promote job growth, and achieve air quality and climate goals. More than 50 influential California groups and businesses have indicated their support for the bill.

Advocates for low-income people and communities of color in California hailed the bill's innovative approaches to including people of all income levels in California's clean transportation future.

"This bill will make electric cars and car-sharing opportunities affordable to working families," said Vien Truong, Environmental Equity Director for The Greenlining Institute. "It will also let low-income families cash in their clunkers and use that voucher with clean car rebates or for car-sharing programs and public transportation. These options give urban and rural Californians of all income levels better transportation choices and a ticket to the clean-energy future," Truong said.

SB 1275 builds on the state's successful incentive programs, securing long-term funding for vehicle rebate programs and retooling them to put electric vehicle ownership within reach for low- and moderate-income buyers.

"Charge Ahead California will accelerate the most important revolution in automotive technology since we ditched the steam engine. Increasing access to the use of electricity as a transportation fuel will not only clean the air, but prevent pain at the pump because it's the cost equivalent of one-dollar-a-gallon gasoline," said Max Baumhefner, a clean vehicles and fuels expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Bahram Fazeli, Policy Director for Communities for a Better Environment, said his group supported targeting the bill's benefits to communities most impacted by air and climate pollution.

"Californians, especially those living in environmental justice communities, will benefit from reduced air pollution and gaining greater access to clean vehicles and green jobs. We applaud Senator De León's leadership and the visionary support of the California Assembly for laying the foundation for clean transportation and a clean economy," Fazeli said.

SB 1275 is advancing California's leadership as a national and global leader on innovative policies to respond to the threat of climate change.

"One of the most essential steps in halting climate change is to transition our vehicle fleet to electric vehicles," said Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate for Environment California. "Today, the California Assembly made a vital commitment to steer Californians toward a safer climate and a cleaner, healthier future for all. By putting the first million electric vehicles on our roads, California will create a tipping point for clean vehicle sales, significantly reduce global warming pollution, and lead the country towards a clean vehicle revolution," Kinman said.

Bill Magavern, Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air, supports the bill's comprehensive approach to reducing road pollution.

"Putting a million clean cars, trucks, and buses on our roads will bring much-needed relief to the millions of Californians who are still breathing unhealthy air," Magavern said. "SB 1275 by Senator De León, along with SB 1204 by Senators Lara and Pavley, will supercharge ongoing efforts by the Air Resources Board to stimulate development and deployment of the cleaner trucks and buses, as well as cars, that will be essential to meeting both health standards and greenhouse gas goals."

Key provisions of Charge Ahead California (SB 1275) include:

An extended and improved Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). The CVRP has been instrumental in bringing a third of the nation's plug-in cars to California. The CVRP currently provides buyers with a $2,500 rebate for zero-emission purchases, but the program has been historically plagued by insufficient funding. SB 1275 would help secure the funding needed to ensure California is the first state in the nation with one million electric vehicles, establish an income cap to stretch valuable public dollars to incentivize clean car purchases that would not otherwise occur, and would step down rebate levels over time as technology costs decrease.

Increases access to clean transportation in disadvantaged communities. Establishes car-sharing programs, deploys charging stations in apartment complexes, provides access to financing options that would lower combined monthly car payments and fuel costs, and offers incentives for the replacement of gas-guzzling "clunkers" with new or used electric cars or vouchers for transit and car-sharing.

SB 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, is sponsored by the Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, The Greenlining Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council. More supporters listed at http://ChargeAhead.org/supporters.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      spazaru
      • 3 Months Ago
      Really? Y'all have to be the only people on earth who call Jerry by his real first name. Just how well DO you know him?
      Tweaker
      • 3 Months Ago
      Actually, they should have put all those solar panels they've been subsidizing on Section 8 houses. The grid still gets it and we provide assistance at the same time to people who don't use much electricity. Instead, the program is designed around subsidizing wasters.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Tweaker
        Since Section 8 housing is owned by the government, it would be an ideal location for panels.
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          SteveG is correct. Landlords love section 8. No knocking on doors for rent; government direct deposit to the landlord, like clockwork. Early nineties, I dated a girl whose mom had been living in Section 8 for decades. Just talked to her recently - mom still is. So people that work, have been, and will probably continue paying her rent - till she dies. I looked up the house on Zillow recently. Value >$400k (near LA). Just think if she worked and bought that house thirty or forty years ago. She'd now be retiring in style to a Del Webb. socialism destroys ambition and wealth - everybody's wealth
          SteveG
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Since when? Section 8 authorizes the payment of private landlords to house the impoverished. By definition housing owned by the government cannot be covered by section 8.
      jphyundai
      • 3 Months Ago
      The $2500 down payment and one payment could keep somebody in a car for more than 6 months or until the repo guys find out where it is. This is a gift for bums and losers.
      Levine Levine
      • 3 Months Ago
      The People's Republic of California takes money from the productive workers and gives it to the unproductive ones. Among the California's elite socialists, various justification have been made for the redistribution of wealth via the coercive power of the State: a more fair and just society; humanitarian goals; and today, the promotion and practice of 'Green' lifestyle among the poor. The socialist elite ignores the injustice of taking money from workers for simply working hard for themselves and their family and giving that wealth to workers with less ability or inferior skill, or heaven forbid to chronic welfare recipients. Essentially, the elite socialists want to reduce the wealth gap between the have and have-not until all are in the lower income brackets. Collective misery loves company replaces happiness through individual effort. Diverting tax money to subsidize the poor's purchase of a Green car when many blue-collar, middle-class, thrifty Americans are saving nickel and dimes to buy their first Green car is facially unfair. It is a noble endeavor of government bureaucrats to encourage all drivers to adopt 'Green' transportation. However, there's no guarantee that the poor would not pocket the subsidy by selling the Green car after a year of ownership to fund more pressing needs. The history of Food Stamp fraud is instructive. All socialists have great ideas when it comes to spending other people's money. But all socialism collapse when they run out of spending other people's money.
        Mark Schaffer
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        "The People's Republic of California". Everything after that start is thoughtless rant without any credible source. This poster should stick to calling into his/her/or its local gossip radio talk show because that is the level this is written to.
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        LL, Winston Churchill quote from over 60 years ago: "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. "
        Gabbo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Spot on, Levine. Spot on.
      SteveG
      • 3 Months Ago
      Great now my tax dollars can go to the poor and rich.
      KenZ
      • 3 Months Ago
      I am totally in favor of means testing (as an upper middle income CA resident who would personally lose out). And of course I'm a fan of plug ins, since we own one. However.... $2500 really doesn't help truly low income people for a plugin. I'm open to argument on this of course, but if we could just, say, get lower income people into a nice used prius, and then move those middle/upper income prius owners to the plugins? I know, I know, too hard to manage. I suppose perhaps it might help out lower income people going to the least $ Nissan Leaf lease, but then they don't end up with a car at the end, and they likely wouldn't qualify for a lease anyway. I'm all about helping out the less fortunate, and I totally think it's great to help them get more efficient cars. I just don't think that trying to move them to the bleeding edge of automotive technology is the best use of the funds.
        SteveG
        • 3 Months Ago
        @KenZ
        Perhaps if this applied to used cars it would have more impact. I am not by any measure a low income household, but the Leaf is still to expensive for what it is. Why would I spend twice as much as on a gasoline car? If I really wanted to help the environment I could donate the saved money and likely have more impact.
        Gabbo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @KenZ
        How true - couldn't they better use a subsidized bicycle ? Or even a motorcycle .... ?
      Adam
      • 3 Months Ago
      What would make more sense if they allowed for used partial zero emission cars. Plug in hybrids and EVs are relatively new and more expensive. If they're low income, then they probably don't have much money at all!
      Jesse Gurr
      • 3 Months Ago
      Anyone else notice the bill was approved with exactly 2/3 of the vote? Coincidence?
      jack smith
      • 3 Months Ago
      Never in my life have I seen a supposedly "great product" that is also supposedly "greener" and "cheaper than the alternative over the long term", as well as being the "future" need government subsidies in order to stay on the market. That's amazing isn't it? It's such a great thing, yet almost no one wants to buy one without at least $7,500 from the government, and another chunk of change from the state. If these things are so great, remove the subsidies and see how well they sell.
      purrpullberra
      • 3 Months Ago
      I think it makes sense to do this, I've been a proponent of 'means testing' to determine whether a person deserves assistance. From social security to this. I could see keeping the purchase tax-free like in WA for everyone with rebates based on income. Maybe we should focus on individuals who could make the biggest difference, route-based rebates. Lots of stop and go? Biggest rebate. Hard to work out tho.
        jphyundai
        • 3 Months Ago
        @purrpullberra
        I propose that You be the first to buy somebody a Tesla, since they cannot afford it. You can put your own money to use and also support your favorite car company. Just leave the rest of us out of it!!!
      RyanC
      • 3 Months Ago
      The best and easiest solution (for the consumer) is to just make the credit a rebate. If you buy an EV, uncle Sam writes you a check for $7500. It worked great when I bought my home ($8000) and it would work well again!
        Rotation
        • 3 Months Ago
        @RyanC
        There's no "Uncle Sam". This is California, not the feds. The Californian program is already a rebate. This is changing the amounts.
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