California is one of the most favorable states to own an electric car. As you know electric cars come with a higher sticker price, but there are many perks and ways that an electric car can pay you back. Besides the obvious daily savings on gas, you can also get state rebates, federal tax credits, toll road discounts and carpool privileges (time is money, right?). As of 2020, here's what you can apply for by owning an electric car.
Apply for Edison's $1,000 Clean Fuel Reward Program
If you are a Southern California Edison customer and you've purchased or leased an electric vehicle, you can apply for up to a $1,000 rebate from Southern California Edison with the Clean Fuel Reward Program.
What You Need to Apply:
- SCE Service Account Number - This is the number located at the top of your SCE bill. If you're on paperless billing log into My Account to get your Service Account Number.
- Vehicle Purchase or Lease Agreement - You'll need to scan a clear and legible photo of all the pages of your purchase or lease agreement.
- Current Vehicle Registration Card - You'll need to upload an image of your current vehicle registration card to complete the application process. If there are two names on your vehicle registration card, choose one vehicle owner or lessee to apply for the rebate. Temporary registration cards are not accepted.
Apply for the CA Clean Vehicle Rebate (CVRP)
California residents can apply for a $2,000 rebate on pure electric battery cars, $1,000 for plug-in electric hybrid vehicles and $4,500 for fuel cell electric vehicles with the CA Clean Vehicle Rebate. If you meet certain "low-income" requirements then you can get and additional $2,500 rebate as well. You can apply within 18 months of purchasing or leasing an eligible vehicle.
Unfortunately state lawmakers have recently stopped offering rebates on cars over $60,000 because these expensive cars are considered luxury models. Just check the list of eligible vehicles below to make sure your car qualifies. But don’t delay because there is a limited amount of funds for this rebate – so apply now before they are gone.
Apply for the IRS Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit
If you purchase your electric car you can claim a tax credit starting at $2,500. Additional tax credits are added if your vehicle’s battery size is at least 5kWh up to a maximum of a $7,500 credit if your battery exceed 16kWh. We encourage you to check with your tax professional to fully understand what the tax credit means for your unique situation.
If you lease your vehicle, the tax credit is claimed by the manufacturer. Sometimes that is used to bring down the lease price, but check with your dealer because the amount passed onto you varies by dealer.
Read the IRS tax code to see how the tax credit works and for a list of qualified vehicles - IRC 30D New Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit
Get the IRS Tax Credit for a Solar Car Charging Inverter
Charging your electric car with your own solar panels is the cheapest way to fuel your car. SolarMax has a nice infographic that breaks down the cost of charging an electric car at home.
The preferred way to charge your car at home is with a fast, Level 2 charger. But they can be a hassle and expensive to buy and install. A great way to get a fast, Level 2 charging station installed in your home at no real additional cost is to have your solar panels installed with an Electric Car Charging Inverter. Then you can claim the 26% solar tax credit on the whole cost of solar installation including the car charger. This way your solar energy system is not only saving you money every month on your electric bill but also fueling your electric car with cheap, naturally abundant sunshine.
Apply for the Zero Emission Vehicle Discount on CA toll roads
As of January 1, 2019 there is a discount for clean air vehicles on the 91 Express Lanes, but not on any of the other Fast Trak toll roads in California. If you drive a 100% battery electric car, you may be eligible for a Special Access Account.
Apply for the CA DMV carpool lane stickers
By driving an eligible clean air vehicle you can apply with the CA DMV to get a carpool sticker (Clean Air Vehicle Decal) that will allow you to be a solo driver in the HOV carpool lane.
How to Apply for the Clean Air Vehicle Decal:
- Check that your vehicle is on the List of eligible vehicles for the Carpool Sticker
- Fill out the CA DMV application for Clean Air Vehicle Decals
- Complete the vehicle information at the top of the application.
- Complete Section 1 with the Current Registered Owner’s Name and Address.
- The vehicle must be registered in the applicant’s name. If this is a recently acquired vehicle, the transfer of ownership (from dealership or private party) must be completed before the application can be submitted. You will receive a registration card from DMV once the transfer of ownership is complete.
- The address on the application must match the address on the vehicle registration card. If your address needs to be updated, you may complete a Change of Address online at www.dmv.ca.gov before submitting your application or submit a Change of Address (DMV 14) with your application. Note: This also applies if you are adding a new or separate mailing address currently not on file with DMV.
- Complete Section 2 by checking “Original decals”, if the vehicle has never been issued a clean air decal, and check the correct boxes for your vehicle’s exhaust standard and motive power.
- If you are unsure of your vehicle’s exhaust standard or motive power, visit the ARB website or call 1-800-242-4450
- Complete Section 3 by reading all important information, printing your name, telephone number, and sign the application.
- An original signature is required.
- The signature for a company or business must include the printed name of the company/business and an authorized representative’s countersignature on the signature line (e.g., ABC CO. by JOHN SMITH or JOHN SMITH for ABC CO.)
- Submit the completed application and $22 decal fee to the address shown on the form.
More Useful Info on Electric Cars
- Guide to Charging Your Electric Car with Solar
- Solar Electric Car Charging Products
- The Cost of Charging an Electric Car at Home [Grid, Solar & Gas Compared]