California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project will finally implement its income-based green car incentives in March 2016, and the change will mean the state's wealthiest buyers will no longer receive aid to buy electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids, according to research by CarsDirect. However, lower-income customers will see their reimbursement level increase. The long-planned move is part of the state's strategy to encourage driving green among the middle class.

Under the new policy, a single person making $250,000 or more and joint tax filers above $500,000 are no longer eligible for state incentives on EVs or plug-ins. The rich can still get $5,000 off a fuel cell vehicle.

Meanwhile, those making at most three times the federal poverty level see the incentives increase by $1,500. According to CarsDirect, this equates to a person making $35,310 or $60,270 for a family of three. The change gives them $4,000 off an EV, $3,000 from a plug-in hybrid, and $6,500 off a fuel cell.

For earners between these extremes, there's no change. The incentives remain at $2,500 for EVs, $1,500 for PHEVs, and $5,000 for FCEVs.

The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project currently says that these changes are "anticipated in mid-March 2016" without providing a specific date. The agency promises to give at least two weeks notice of the start time through a press release.

This switch is the latest sign of California policy makers broadening the impact of green vehicles across financial levels. Politicians criticized the current funding method as largely benefiting the wealthy, and lawmakers proposed an income cap in a 2014 bill. Pilot programs in 2015 also offered even higher incentives to low-income buyers in certain areas and created a PHEV and EV carsharing network in parts of Los Angeles.

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