California's proposed high-speed rail may be a pipe dream, but at least the Golden State has picked up some velocity for other green transportation-related initiatives. One of them is SB 1275, which was proposed by California State Senenator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) as a way to help more moderate-income people buy electric vehicles. And the good news is that California Gov. Jerry Brown has now signed that bill, also known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative, into law, along with 10 other bills that increase the number of green vehicles that can be used in carpool lanes with only one person, add support for solar and address other issues.

Last month, SB 1275 was passed by the California Assembly by a vote of 46-23 and the state's ultimate goal is to have 1 million EVs on its roads by 2023. We can see that it's going to take more than wealthy Tesla Model S drivers to make that happen. As part of the bill, lower income people can get at least a $2,500 credit when trading in their old car for a zero-emissions vehicle. The bill also provides at least $1,500 to those who ditch their cars altogether and join the car-sharing universe.

SB 1275 will also help fund car-sharing programs and broaden the plug-in vehicle charging infrastructure. Check out the press release announcing the law below and take a look at a PDF outlining SB 1275 here.
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Rebates for Low- and Middle-Income Buyers Will Bring One Million EVs

SACRAMENTO – As world leaders prepare to gather in New York for the UN Climate Summit, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. upped the stakes today in his state's drive for a clean economy, putting his signature on a new initiative that will put clean cars within reach for hundreds of thousands of buyers and one million electric vehicles on the state's roads in ten years.

The Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275) was authored by Senate President pro Tem-elect Kevin de León and sponsored by the Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, The Greenlining Institute and Natural Resources Defense Council.

"I'm excited that California is charging ahead with plans to have 1 million zero-emission vehicles on our roads by 2023. Leading the way in the fight against climate change requires making electric vehicles affordable for all drivers, not just the wealthy," Senator De Leon said.

Statements from the Charge Ahead California steering committee groups follow:

Environment California: "California is putting the pedal to the metal, and accelerating the transition to clean, electric vehicles. By putting the first million electric vehicles on our roads, California will create a tipping point for clean vehicle sales, lead the country towards a clean vehicle revolution, and continue its position at the forefront of innovative global warming solutions." – Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate

Communities for a Better Environment: "Californians, especially those living in environmental justice communities, will benefit from reduced air pollution and gaining greater access to clean vehicles and green jobs. With a stroke of his pen, Governor Brown has accelerated California's drive toward a cleaner and fairer future." – Bahram Fazeli, Policy Director

Natural Resources Defense Council: "It's a great day for anyone who breathes air or buys gas in California because the Charge Ahead Initiative will help accelerate the use of electric cars, trucks, and buses that run on a cleaner fuel that is the cost equivalent of $1 per gallon gas." – Max Baumhefner, Attorney, Clean Vehicles and Fuels

Coalition for Clean Air: "The enactment of SB 1275 and SB 1204 means that California will be putting money paid by oil companies and other big polluters to work developing and deploying advanced clean trucks and buses in addition to cars that run on clean alternatives to petroleum. The result will be healthier air for the millions of Californians living near polluted freeways and roads." – Bill Magavern, Policy Director

The Greenlining Institute: "Thanks to Gov. Brown's signature, electric cars and car-sharing opportunities are about to become affordable to working families. It will also boost public transportation and car-sharing programs for clean vehicles, helping Californians at all income levels and moving us toward a clean-energy future." – Vien Truong, Environmental Equity Director

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