More than 250,000 Californians have now received a financial Clean Fuel Reward at the point of sale when they purchased or leased a plug-in electric vehicle—an important milestone for this program after only 18 months since it began.
The California Air Resources Board’s California Clean Fuel Reward program provides an instant price reduction of up to $750 at the point of sale or lease for eligible new plug-in electric vehicles at participating retailers. Since the program launch in November 2020, more than $319 million in rewards have been received by EV buyers. Of the total rewards, 21.2% of incentives went to customers in underserved communities, 10% to customers in low-income communities and another 10% to customers in disadvantaged communities.
CARB and car dealers alike had been seeking a program to help support the sale of plug-in cars that involved making funds immediately available at the dealership, as opposed to other incentive programs that required applications and a waiting period to receive them. After two years of discussion and collaboration between the California Air Resources Board, the California Public Utilities Commission and electric utilities throughout the state the California Clean Fuel Reward was launched on 17 November 2020. It proved immensely popular: Within six weeks, 741 retailers representing nearly 90% of the EV market had been approved to participate.
The California Clean Fuel Reward Program is administered by Southern California Edison in collaboration with electric utilities across the state, giving all Californians the ability to receive the reward, regardless of their electric utility provider.
Funded by credits generated by utilities in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), the California Clean Fuel Reward makes electric vehicles even more affordable to a broad group of customers due to few eligibility restrictions and its ability to be stacked with other federal, state and local rewards. The LCFS is designed to reduce the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuel pool and provide low-carbon and renewable alternatives, reducing air pollution and the state’s dependency on petroleum.
The reward amount depends on the vehicle battery capacity where vehicles with a battery capacity of 16 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or greater would receive the full reward and vehicles with smaller capacities would receive a prorated reward down to 5 kWh.