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Guide

California Electric Car Rebates and Incentives

This guide has all of the rebates and incentives offered to Californians for the purchase of an electric vehicle in 2020, or a residential EV charger. There is over $23,000 worth of rebates and incentives on this list, with instructions on how to apply for each.

Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

If you live in California, you’re potentially eligible to receive up to $7,000 for the purchase or lease of a new, zero-emission or plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicle. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project has a very simple process to apply for and receive the rebate. You’ll first purchase or lease the vehicle, submit the proper documents online, they’ll review them, and they’ll send a check to you via mail. 

Eligible Vehicles And Rebate Amount:


Car
Year
Fuel Type
Rebate
Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
2017-2020
Hydrogen Fuel Cell
$4,500
Hyundai Nexo
2019-2020
Hydrogen Fuel Cell
$4,500
Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle
2017-2020
Hydrogen Fuel Cell
$4,500
BMW i3
2017-2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
BMW i3s
2018-2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017-2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
Fiat 500e
2017-2019
Battery Electric
$2,000
Honda Clarity Electric
2017-2019
Battery Electric
$2,000
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
2017-2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
Hyundai Kona Electric
2019-2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
Kia Niro Electric
2019
Battery Electric
$2,000
Kia Soul EV
2017-2019
Battery Electric
$2,000
MINI Cooper SE
2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
Nissan LEAF
2017-2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
smart Electric Fortwo Cabriolet
2017-2019
Battery Electric
$2,000
smart Electric Fortwo Coupe
2017-2019
Battery Electric
$2,000
Tesla Model 3
2017-2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
Tesla Model Y
2020
Battery Electric
$2,000
Volkswagen e-Golf
2017-2019
Battery Electric
$2,000
Chevrolet Volt Low Emissions Package
2017-2019
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000
Chrysler Pacifica
2017-2020
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000
Ford Fusion Energi
2017-2020
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000
Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
2018-2020
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000
Hyundai Ioniq PHEV
2018-2020
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000
Hyundai Sonata PHEV
2016-2019
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000
Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
2018-2019
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000
Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid
2017-2020
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000
Toyota Prius Prime
2017-2020
Plugin Hybrid Electric
$1,000

Application Process

The application process is relatively straightforward. Typically you’ll begin the application process after you’ve purchased the car but if you’re a San Diego resident you may be eligible to apply for preapproval. For the application be prepared to have some information ready.


Information and Documents You’ll Need:

➊ The vehicle VIN

➋ Dealer contact person & phone

➌ Signed copy of your CVRP application form

➍ A copy of your lease or purchase agreement

➎ Proof of temporary or permanent vehicle registration

➏ A copy of your driver’s license

➐ Your most recently filed tax return


The amount that you get depends on a few factors, one of those is your annual household income. The CVRP will use your most recent tax return to verify your income. You can see the income eligibility levels here


All of the remaining requirements and eligibility information can be found on their site here. Once you’ve completed the application, the CVRP is fairly quick at sending you the rebate. From my experience, it took about three months to get the check. They sent me e-mails along the way updating me on the status of the application and the approximate date of completion.

IRS Tax Credit

The IRS tax credit rewards a minimum of $2,500 and may go up to $7,500 so it’s worth figuring out how much you’re eligible to receive. The credit is for the purchase of a new plug-in electric vehicle with at least 5kw hours of capacity. Trying to get specific information from the IRS via the phone is impossible. It’s best to stick to their website to gather information. We’ve included a list of eligible vehicles, which is getting smaller and smaller each year so the sooner the better! I've written a more in-depth guide about the Federal Tax Credit here.


Eligible Vehicles and Credit Amount


You can find the list here.


Application

Not so much of an application, but when filing your taxes you’ll enter into the tax software that you’ve purchased a qualifying vehicle to get the tax credit.

Driving Incentives

Carpool lane

For buying a plugin hybrid, or electric vehicle, the state of California gives you limited access to the carpool lane as a clean air vehicle.  


Getting access to the carpool lane is fairly straightforward. First, make sure that your vehicle qualifies by clicking here.  Note that only new vehicle purchases qualify, not used car purchases. Unlike the CVRP rebate, you have to submit an official car registration; a temporary registration will not work. Once you’ve purchased the car and registered it you can follow these steps.


➊ Download and print this form.

➋ Section one you’ll fill out with your personal information. 

➌ Section two you’ll be requesting original decals and you’ll select what type of motive power the car is.

➍ Section three you’ll print and sign your name, and date the application.

➎ You’ll attach a check for $22 made out to the DMV and send the application to the following address:


Department of Motor Vehicles

Special Processing Unit - MS D238

P.O. BOX 932345, Sacramento, CA 94232-3450


91 Express Lane

The express lane access is only available for the 91 express lanes and not any other toll roads. This incentive is also only available to 100% electric battery vehicles.


➊ Download and print this form.

➋ Section one you’ll fill out with your personal information. 

➌ Section two is your vehicle information and which transponder you plan to use/purchase.

➍ Section three you’ll select “Zero Emission Vehicle”.

➎ Then you’ll include your method of payment and send to the address below:


91 Express Lanes 

Post Office Box 9191 

Corona, CA 92878-9191

Energy Provider Incentives

Pacific Gas and Electric Up to $800

You may be eligible for an $800 clean fuel rebate if you’re a Pacific Gas and Electric customer. This rebate actually comes from the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program.


Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be an active residential customer of PG&E. Whoever owns the PG&E account has to apply. So if you live in a house and your name is not on the PGE account, the account owner can apply on your behalf. 
  • You must own or lease an eligible plugin electric vehicle. 
  • The vehicle can not have previously received the Clean Fuel Rebate.
  • The car must be up to date on its registration.
  • The address on the vehicle registration must match PG&E account address.

Application

You can find the application here. Much of the same information used for the other rebates and incentives is used for this application. You’ll just need a few things for this application:

  • Your PG&E bill with your account number
  • Proof of registration of your card. Note that it cannot be a temporary copy or e-copy.


➊ You’ll fill out your personal information.

➋ Vin and registration information for your vehicle. 

➌ Fill in your PG&E account info.

➍ Upload your proof of registration and your PG&E bill.


After that PG&E will review your application and if you’re eligible they’ll send a check to the address on your account.

Southern California Edison Up to $1,000

This rebate is only for customers of Southern California Edison, if that’s you, you’ll get $1000 if you purchased or leased your car on or after January 1st 2019. Even if you bought it before then, you may qualify for a $450 rebate. 


Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be an active residential customer of SCE.
  • You must own or lease an eligible plugin electric vehicle (it can be used). 
  • The vehicle can not have previously received the SCE rebate more than three times.
  • The car must be up to date on its registration.
  • The address on the vehicle registration must match SCE account address.
  • If you have multiple eligible EVs in your household, you may receive a rebate for each vehicle


Application

You can find the application here. Much of the same information used for the other rebates and incentives is used for this application. You’ll just need a few things for this application:

  • Your SCE bill with your account number
  • Proof of registration of your card. Note that it cannot be a temporary copy or e-copy.


➊ You’ll fill out your personal information.

➋ Vin and registration information for your vehicle. 

➌ Fill in your SCE account info.

➍ Upload your proof of registration and your SCE bill.


After that SCE will review your application and if you’re eligible they’ll send a check to the address on your account.

Area Specific Incentives

Drive Clean in San Joaquin Up to $3,000

San Joaquin Valley is offering its residents a hefty rebate depending on what clean air vehicle they may purchase. If you buy a battery-electric, or a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle you can qualify to get as much as $3,000. 


Eligibility Requirements

  • The rebate is only available for residents of the San Joaquin Valley.
  • The vehicle must be an eligible vehicle. You can see the list here.
  • The purchase or lease agreement must identify the vehicle as “new”.


Application

You can find the application here. Much of the same information used for the other rebates and incentives is used for this application. You’ll just need a few things for this application:

  • Purchase or lease agreement.
  • Temporary or permanent registration.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Current utility bill to prove you live in San Joaquin Valley and it can’t be your driver’s license.


➊ You’ll fill out your personal information.

➋ Vin and registration information for your vehicle regarding how much you’ll use it.

➌ Upload documents listed above.


After that San Joaquin Valley will review your application and if you’re eligible they’ll send a check to the address on your account.


Riverside Electric Vehicle Purchase Rebate Up to $500

For citizens of Riverside this rebate allows you to get up to $500 back for buying an alternative fuel vehicle from a dealership within the city. If you have more questions here is their site

Eligibility Requirements

  • The rebate is only available for residents of Riverside.
  • You must provide proof of residency.
  • The purchase or lease agreement must identify the vehicle as “new”.
  • Fill out the application.
  • Complete a vehicle use survey.
  • The rebate is only for eligible vehicles -- fully electric, hydrogen fuel cell, or a neighborhood electric. Teslas are excluded because there is no Tesla dealer in Riverside. 


Application

Unlike other rebates, you have to apply for this one in person within 30 days of purchasing the vehicle. Much of the same information used for the other rebates and incentives is used for this application. You’ll just need a few things for this application:

  • Purchase or lease agreement.
  • A valid driver’s license.
  • Current utility bill to prove you live in Riverside.


Here is the address where you’ll apply:


City of Riverside

Public Works Department

3900 Main Street, 4th Floor

Riverside, CA 92522


After that the City should send the check to you by mail in between 4-6 weeks. 


Pasadena Residential EV and Charger Rebate Up to $600

For residents of Pasadena who use PWP residential electric there is a rebate of up to $250 for purchasing or leasing a new or used plugin electric vehicle. There’s also another $250 that you can get if you get the car from a Pasadena auto dealer (Tesla is excluded). 

You may also purchase a Wi-fi enabled EV charger for your home and get a $600 rebate from the city. Or just a normal home EV charger will get you a $200 rebate.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Purchase or lease a plug-in electric vehicle.
  • And/or get the Wi-fi or non Wi-fi enabled EV charger for the additional rebate.
  • To get the charger rebate you must have licensed professional install the charger.
  • You have to submit the application within a year of purchase.


Application

The application is within your PWP account which you can login to here. You’ll then select the button labeled “Apply for Rebates”. Much of the same information used for the other rebates and incentives is used for this application. You’ll just need a few things for this application:

  • Purchase or lease agreement.
  • Temporary or permanent registration.
  • Sales receipt for the charger that says “Wi-fi enabled”.
  • Picture of the charger installed at your home.
  • A copy of the Building/Electrical Inspection sign off from the Pasadena Building Inspector.


You’ll submit separate applications for each of the rebates, and there’s a little bit more fine print that you can find here.


Anaheim Personal Use EV Charger Rebate Up to $500

The City of Anaheim is offering rebates to reimburse $500 worth the cost of eligible EV chargers and their installation. Although this is labeled personal it also applies to business owners as well. 


Eligibility Requirements

  • Obtain an building permit (the city will pay for the permits) from Anaheim City for the installation of your charger here:
  • 200 South Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim CA 92805. 
  • Install the charger according to code.


Application

You can find the application here. It’s a fairly straightforward process that just requires a few documents, and a bit of information:

  • All charging station purchase and installation receipts.
  • Copy of Building Department Permit Card showing sign off.
  • A copy of your Anaheim Public Utility bill.
  • Picture of the charger installed at your home.
  • A photo of the serial number for your charger. 


➊ You’ll fill out your personal information and your Anaheim Utility account number.

➋ You’ll add the make and model of your charging station as well as the serial number.

➌ VIN number of your vehicle and what type of property the charger is at.


After filling out the application and gathering the necessary documents you’ll mail the application in to:


Anaheim Public Utilities – Plug-In Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate Program 

201 South Anaheim Blvd., Suite #801, Anaheim, CA 92805 


Or by email to EVRebates@anaheim.net


LADWP Electric Vehicle Charger Up To $500

LADWP is offering residential customers up to $500 if you buy a qualified Level 2 charger. You can also apply for the service to get your EV charger installed as well. The final rebate will be based on the total cost of the charger, minus any other EV charger financial incentives or rebates received from a third party/parties.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a current customer of LADWP.
  • Purchase and install a Level 2 (240-volt) charger.
  • Install the charger according to code.


Application

You can find the application here. This application requires a bit more than some of the others but is still fairly straightforward:

  • All charging station purchase and installation receipts.They have to include:
  • Purchase date
  • Retailer name, business address and phone number
  • EV charger make and model number
  • Itemized costs for the charger
  • Payment terms
  • DMV registration of your EV with the same address as your LADWP account.
  • Proof of ownership of your vehicle. Purchase agreement for the car. 
  • Picture of the charger installed at your home.
  • A photo of the serial number for your charger. 


➊ You’ll fill out your personal information and your LADWP account number.

➋ If you’re the account owner and vehicle owner you’ll skip to section 5 and fill out vehicle info.

➌ In section 6 you’ll fill out charger information and the rebate amount.



After filling out the application and gathering the necessary documents you’ll mail the application in to:


LADWP EV Programs

P.O. Box 51111, Room 1019

Los Angeles, CA 90051-0100


LADWP Used Vehicle Rebate Up to $1,500

LADWP is offering residential customers up to $1,500 if you buy a qualified used EV. There are few different rebate options depending on when you actually purchased the vehicle. Eligible vehicles go all the way back to 2012.


Eligibility Requirements

  • You don’t have to be the account holder of a LADWP account, but your residence does have to be serviced by LADWP.
  • Your vehicle has to be on the approved vehicle list here.
  • The vehicle cannot have received the rebate twice before. You can check if it has here.


Application

You can find the online application here, but if you prefer to mail it in you can download that here. Here are all the documents you’ll need for the application:

  • Copy of your current DMV registration.
  • Bill of sale or purchase agreement for the vehicle.
  • If you’re applying by mail you’ll need proof of residence.


If you’re sending in the application via mail you’ll send it to the following address:


LADWP Used EV Rebate Program

P.O. Box 51111, Room 1019

Los Angeles CA 90051-0100


South Coast Residential EV Charging Rebate

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is offering a $250 rebate or the cost paid for the charger whichever is lower. If you are a low-income resident you can qualify for a total rebate of $500 or the cost paid for the charger whichever is lower. Although there may be other incentives locally that are better than this rebate, if so SCAQMD says,


“In some instances, a local utility program may offer a more generous incentive towards purchase

and/or installation of a Level 2 EV charger than the SCAQMD program. In such instances,

applicants will be referred to another utility program.”


Eligibility Requirements

  • Charger has to be from the approved list of Level 2 (240 volt) chargers.
  • You can self-install but it must be installed at a 240v outlet or by a licensed electrician if no 240v outlet is available. 
  • The charger has to be in place for 3 years minimum and considered permanent. 


Application

You can find the online application here. It’s a fairly straightforward process that just requires a few documents, and a bit of information:

  • All charging station purchase and installation receipts.
  • Building Permit.
  • A copy of your Utility bill.
  • EV VIN number and information.
  • DMV registration.
  • EV charger information.
  • Picture of the charger installed at your home.
  • A photo of the serial number for your charger. 


➊ You’ll fill out your personal information.

➋ The information about your EV and the EV charger.

➌ Attach supporting documents and submit.



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