California's Air Resources Board (CARB) has finally announced a timeframe for changes to the CVRP, and it's happening soon. As of March 29, 2016, rebates for low- and moderate-income purchasers and lessees of eligible vehicles will increase by $1,500, while high-income drivers will lose out on the rebate altogether.
High-income drivers will lose out on the rebate altogether.
For the purposes of this program, CARB defines "low- and moderate-income consumers" as those earning a gross income up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For an individual, the income limit to receive the additional rebate is $35,640. For a two-person household, that's $48,060, and $72,900 for a family of four. If you earn less than that in a year, you're eligible for a $4,000 rebate for a battery electric vehicle (BEV), and $3,000 for a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
High-income buyers won't be offered a rebate at all. That includes individuals with an income of $250,000, $340,000 for head-of-household filers and $500,000 for joint filers. If you earn less than that, but more than three times the poverty level, your rebate remains unchanged: $2,500 for BEVs and $1,500 for PHEVs.
Fuel cell vehicles (FCEV) are governed by different rebate rules. FCEVs get a $5,000 rebate, with no income cap. Those low- to moderate- income earners, though, will still enjoy an extra $1,500, for a total rebate of $6,500. According to CARB,though, FCEVs represent fewer than one in 100 rebates issued.
So, if you're wealthy, now would be a good time to pull the trigger on that zero-emissions car you've been eyeing (unless you're interested in a Toyota Mirai; then, no hurry). On the other hand, if you've been pinching pennies to save up for a new car, EVs are about to become slightly more obtainable.