Ultimate EV Buyer's Guide by Swing, Chapter 3

Incentives

One of the joys of being an early adopter is getting deals and incentives to go electric. Make sure you're not leaving any money on the table when you make the switch!

In the U.S., the federal government, state governments, city governments, counties, and even local utilities and community choice aggregators (CCA's) offer incentives to encourage people to switch to electric cars. Exactly which rebates apply to you are very particular to where you live, which car you purchased, and your income level. Dealers may “bake in” these rebates without checking that you qualify so make sure you read the fine print on any offers you are presented with.

 

Federal Tax Rebate

Every taxpayer in the U.S. is eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500 from the federal government for each electric car purchased. Note that some PHEVs may not receive the full $7,500 tax credit. You must have $7,500 of tax liabilities to offset – this incentive cannot be used to generate a larger tax refund for you. Contact your tax professional for more details.

It’s also important to note that there are manufacturer caps on this rebate. Some manufacturers (like Tesla and Chevrolet) have already hit their 200,000 car limit so the rebate available for their vehicles drops by half in 2019. If you are leasing a car, the dealer will claim this federal tax rebate and the lease price will be reduced.

 

State, County, and City Incentives

State incentives vary by state, county, and city. Most of the vehicles we sell are in California where EV purchasers can apply for an award from the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) worth up to $2,500. PHEVs are typically only awarded a $1,500 rebate (note that this rebate is only for people who report less than $150k if filing taxes as single or $300k if filing taxes jointly). EMotorWerks maintains a useful database of incentives  by zip code to explore these incentives.

 

Utility and CCA Incentives

As more people switch to electric cars, the flow of money for fuel is redirected from gasoline providers to electric utilities. This is why utilities and Community Choice Aggregators (a CCA is like a smaller, more local utility) also offer incentives - it’s a sort of investment towards getting you to spend more money on electricity coming from them. These incentives can be as high as $10,000 from Southern California Edison for buying a BMW i3 to $800 from Pacific Gas and Electric for any EV.

 

Other Incentives

HOV access is often a perk of driving electric

The state of California and a few others grant single-driver HOV ("express lane") access to new owners of electric cars. You can apply for HOV stickers  after receiving your license plates in the mail ($22 processing fee).

Many municipalities will also offer cheaper tolls on certain bridges or toll roads.