New York state electric-car rebate program to launch this month


2017 Nissan Leaf

2017 Nissan Leaf

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New York state has finally issued details on its effort to step up its efforts to promote electric cars.

The Empire State is one of eight so-called "ZEV states" that have adopted California emissions standards.

But New York does not mandate automakers to sell zero-emission vehicles within its borders, and currently does not offer purchase incentives to consumers.

DON'T MISS: Plug-in electric car sales for Feb: Volt outsells Prius Prime, Bolt EV, Leaf (final update)

That will change within this month, as legislators plan to launch an electric-car rebate program, according to the Associated Press.

The program, which officials hope to launch by April 1, will offer a $2,000 rebate for the purchase of a new battery-electric car or plug-in hybrid.

Rebates are also nominally available for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, although no such cars are sold in New York state at this time.

New York City skyline (by Flickr user AngMoKio)

New York City skyline (by Flickr user AngMoKio)

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The incentive program was approved last year as part of the state's 2016-2017 fiscal-year budget, but details were sparse, and the rebates are only now being launched.

April 1 is the deadline set by the legislation to launch the rebates, Peter Iwanowicz of Environmental Advocates of New York told the AP, adding that it was "unfortunate" that the launch was taking so long.

The New State Energy Research and Development Authority—the agency responsible for overseeing the rebates—is still working out details, Kate Muller, a spokeswoman for the agency, told the AP.

ALSO SEE: New York adds electric-car purchase incentives, Minnesota may follow (Apr 2016)

Officials plan to reach out to car dealers to ensure they are aware of the program, she said.

Lack of dealer education on the various incentives available for electric cars—or indeed much general information about plug-in vehicles—has become a major obstacle for electric-car sales.

The availability of incentives could encourage consumers to buy electric cars, but only if the dealers selling those cars are able to inform them of those incentives.

Tesla Supercharger site in Newburgh, New York, up and running - June 2015

Tesla Supercharger site in Newburgh, New York, up and running - June 2015

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In adding electric-car rebates, New York joins a growing number of Northeast states, including neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts, and nearby Rhode Island and Delaware.

New York previously promoted electric cars in other ways, such as supporting the expansion of public charging infrastructure and encouraging fleet operators to adopt electric vehicles.

Historically, however, plug-in electric car ownership has been concentrated around the New York City region, with little infrastructure beyond that in the sprawling state that stretches from Lake Erie to the ocean and from Pennsylvania to Canada.

CHECK OUT: State fees, penalties on electric cars proliferate this year

Along with the other seven ZEV states, New York signed an agreement in 2013 to put more electric cars on the road.

The eight states want to have a total of 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads in their jurisdictions by 2025.

That will require a great deal of effort in a short amount of time, advocates suggest, but certainly the emergence of New York's rebates can be viewed as a step in the right direction.

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