Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
How about a shiny new electric car for less than $10,000?
Price has long been a concern for motorists interested in ending their relationship with petroleum, and Sonoma Clean Power, the not-for-profit public electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino counties, is bringing the cost of electric vehicles down to clearance-sale levels.
The second year of the agency’s Drive EverGreen electric vehicle (EV) incentive program — on now through Oct. 31 — offers deals on nine models sold and leased by seven local dealers, ranging in base price from a $51,095 BMW i3 down to a Volkswagen e-Golf listed at $28,995.
The e-Golf, a hatchback with a 124-mile range, comes with a $7,000 dealer credit and a $2,000 Sonoma Clean Power incentive for the average utility customer, plus the possibility of a $2,500 state rebate and a $7,500 federal tax credit. The incentive package, which totals $19,000, slashes the price to $9,995.
“It’s a smokin’ deal,” said Cordel Stillman, director of programs for Sonoma Clean Power, which delivers electricity to 600,000 customers in the two North Bay counties.
But it can get even better for power customers who live in the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, which offers an additional $3,000 incentive in a parallel program called 3-2-1 Go Green. The district covers about 60,000 residents in western and northern Sonoma County.
For Sonoma Clean Power customers who qualify for all the incentives, including a full federal tax credit as well as low-income bonuses, the cost of the e-Golf sinks to $4,495.
Read more at: New electric car for less than $10,000? Sonoma County makes it happen | The Press Democrat
David R. Baker, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
California has far more electric cars and plug-in hybrids plying its roads than any other state — about 300,000 so far. But they’re still just a tiny fraction of auto sales.
Now, legislation in Sacramento is designed to juice the market, just as a new generation of long-range electric cars hits showroom floors.
A bill from Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, would revamp and expand California’s existing rebate program for people who buy electrics or plug-in hybrids. The bill, a version of which has already passed the Assembly, would devote $3 billion to clean car incentives. The money would come from the state’s cap-and-trade system for controlling greenhouse gas emissions.
The new rebates would start big — how big has yet to be determined — and then shrink over time, as plug-in cars become more common and affordable. Eventually, the rebates would disappear altogether.
It’s the same approach California used 10 years ago to kick-start sales of rooftop solar arrays. That rebate program helped create the state’s solar industry.
Even in eco-conscious California, sales of battery-powered cars have not accelerated as quickly as state officials wanted, due to relatively low gasoline prices and the limited range of most electric vehicles.
Read more at: California eyes bigger rebates for electric cars – San Francisco Chronicle
Angela Hart, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The launch of Sonoma Clean Power in spring of 2014 is widely cited as the single largest action Sonoma County has taken to address climate change locally.
The public agency and the county’s dominant electricity provider is credited with reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through large-scale purchase and delivery of renewable power from non-fossil-fuel burning sources, including geothermal and wind. Additional contracts are expected to add solar and more wind power to the mix next year, ambitious moves that represent the agency’s core mission of sourcing electricity from county- and state-based sources, while helping to stabilize rates.
Now, Sonoma Clean Power is making another huge bet: that it can convince hundreds of Sonoma County residents over the next two months to ditch their gas-guzzling vehicles for more fuel-efficient wheels.
The public agency has launched a new, $2.5 million venture to help people purchase electric vehicles and install at-home charging stations, further advancing efforts to reduce climate change by targeting the largest source of pollution in Sonoma County — tailpipe emissions.
“If just 100,000 cars switched from driving on oil to driving on local renewables, we’d go a long way in achieving our climate change goals. That’s pretty extraordinary,” said Geof Syphers, chief executive officer of Sonoma Clean Power. “The state has some really strong objectives related to reducing emissions, but the state doesn’t really know how to achieve them, so this is our opportunity to experiment with relatively low risk.”
Starting Oct. 27 and through Jan. 5, Sonoma Clean Power will offer its customers $2,500 discounts — on a first-come, first-served basis — to purchase or lease a Nissan Leaf or a BMW i3, two models of electric vehicles on the market. Nissan and BMW have offered additional on-the-spot rebates against the purchase price of the vehicles at Santa Rosa-based Jim Bone Nissan and Hansel BMW.
Nissan is offering a $10,000 immediate rebate on Leaf purchases and up to $11,625 for the lease option, and BMW is offering $10,500 off for purchases and $9,500 off for leasing.
Low-income Sonoma Clean Power customers are eligible for an even greater discount of $5,000. Additional state rebates and federal tax credits are available for the purchase of electric vehicles.
Read more at: Sonoma Clean Power adds electric vehicles to its fight to address climate change | The Press Democrat
Mark Glover, SACRAMENTO BEE
A state program that aims to make clean vehicles more accessible to California drivers will soon implement increased incentives for low- and moderate-income consumers.
At the same time, the program will institute an income cap restricting the eligibility of relatively high-income green car buyers.
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, administered by the San Diego-based Center for Sustainable Energy for the California Air Resources Board, said rebates for all types of eligible light-duty passenger vehicles will increase by $1,500 across the board, effective March 29.
Current rebates cover a wide range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles ($1,500), battery electric vehicles ($2,500) and fuel cell electric vehicles ($5,000).
The increased rebates will apply statewide to vehicle purchases or leases.The list of eligible vehicles includes the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, Toyota Mirai, BMW i3, Chevrolet Spark EV, Ford Focus Electric, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Toyota RAV4 EV, Chevrolet Volt and the Honda Fit EV.
To qualify for the increased rebates, applicants must have household incomes less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For an individual, ARB said the gross annual income limit is $35,640, and for a household of four, it’s $72,900.
ARB noted that, when combined with the $7,500 federal tax credit for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles, individual car savings for low- and moderate-income buyers under the new eligibility requirements will range from $10,500 up to $11,500.
Read more at: State’s rebate program for green car buyers shifts gears March 29 | The Sacramento Bee