Delaware finally adjusts green car incentive program to boost EVs

State will triple rebate for electric-vehicle drivers.

Some would say Delaware is straightening out its priorities when it comes to rewarding drivers of advanced-powertrain vehicles. The state's inaugural green-vehicle perks program actually paid people more to buy hybrids or plug-in hybrids than electric vehicles. Starting next month, that will change, according to USAToday.

Delaware residents who purchase EVs will get a $3,500 rebate from the state, compared to $1,500 for hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and natural-gas vehicles. Under the program that the Delaware Department of Natural Resources' Division of Energy and Climate (DNREC) debuted last year, hybrid and plug-in hybrid owners were getting $2,200 in perks, compared to half that for EVs and natural-gas vehicles. The program spurred 229 drivers to buy advanced-powertrain vehicles, which the state says was more than expected, but obviously, the state is looking to goose EV sales further by flipping around the incentive plan.

Delaware isn't exactly a hotbed of plug-in vehicle activity. The state made news around here a few years back when what was then Fisker Automotive was in discussions to take over an old General Motors factory in the town of Newport for the purpose of producing the fledgling automaker's high-end extended-range plug-in vehicles. The state even offered the automaker $20 million to make good on producing cars there. Those plans eventually went sideways, though, as did Fisker.

Meanwhile, the state has 25 publicly-accessible electric-vehicle charging facilities totaling 60 plugs. Among US states, only Alaska, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have fewer, according to the US Department of Energy. That said, Delaware's population is about 935,000, or about the size of Austin, Texas, only with way fewer EVs.

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