California has always been kind to drivers of alternative fuelled vehicles with special privileges in High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, reduced parking and even additional purchase tax credits. 

However, the $5,000 Californian state rebate for those purchasing electric vehicles may soon run out, an electric vehicle advocate has warned. 

Jay Frieland, legislative director of Plug In America, made his comments while speaking to the Los Angeles Times

Plug In America is a non-profit organisation charged with encouraging the purchase and manufacture of plug-in vehicles and reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. The group has recently ran a series of high-profile public service anouncements to encourage consumers to consider buying an electric car. 

In addition to the $7,500 federal tax rebate available to buyers of plug-in vehicles throughout the U.S., Californian residents have enjoyed an additional $5000 tax rebate thanks to an $8 million Californian Air Resources Board fund set up specifically to encourage the purchase of plug-in vehicles. This is enough to reduce the effective cost of the 2011 Nissan LEAF to around $20,000.

Plug In America Public Service Annoucements

Plug In America Public Service Annoucements

At $5,000 per customer, however, the $8 million is only enough to provide 1,600 customers with rebates. 

With California being one of the launch states for the 2011 Nissan LEAF and pre-reservations for the all-electric car currently exceeding 20,000, Plug In America is worried the incentives will only be available to the very early adopters. 

“There’s likely to be more than that sold before July. We believe the rebates will run out,” warned Friedland. 

In addition, the group voiced concern about the way in which tax rebates are applied, potentially restricting who can purchase an electric car in the first place. 

Freidland explained: “If I buy in January, I have to pay it now and I won’t get it back until April in 2012. That’s why we have been advocating for change to a rebate that is paid in 60 days rather than a tax credit.”

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Nationwide, electric vehicle tax credits are also unfairly applied. Those wishing to buy outright must wait anything from a month to more than a year to claim back a tax rebate, whilst those leasing a car have the full rebate amount taken off the lease agreement at the start. 

Regardless of how and when such incentives are applied, we anticipate an end to many electric vehicle incentives in the next twelve months as both federal and state budgets are pushed to their limits. 

[PluginAmerica] via [LATimes]