Massachusetts is about to give its residents a reason to plug in.

A rebate program for electric-car purchases was announced last week by Governor Deval Patrick, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (via the Sierra Club).

The program will provide state residents who buy or lease a new plug-in car with a rebate of up to $2,500 at the point of sale.

That means Massachusetts drivers could get the same amount of money as those in electric-car-happy California--although not quite as much as those in Georgia, with its $5,000 income-tax credit for purchase of a battery-electric car.

GM EV1 and Tesla Model S electric cars, at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, Oct 2013

GM EV1 and Tesla Model S electric cars, at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, Oct 2013

Full details of the Massachusetts program will be available this summer, but it will apply to both battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. If it's modeled after California's purchase-rebate program, the former would get $2,500 and the latter $1,500.

Patrick also announced the second round of grants in the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, which provides funding for the purchase of electric cars and charging infrastructure by eligible entities.

Roughly $600,000 will go toward the installation of charging stations and the purchase of electric cars for the fleets of 16 municipalities, two universities, and one state agency.

Patrick made these announcements in the city of Worcester, which recently added six electric buses to its public-transit fleet.

Those plug-in buses may not be the only ones on Massachusetts roads for long. Working with the Clinton Global Initiative, the state's Department of Energy Resources will provide $1.8 million in grants for eight electric school buses.

They will reportedly have vehicle-to-grid capability, allowing them to discharge electricity back into the grid during power outages serve as back-up energy resources during natural disasters or other calamities.

In addition to reducing emissions, electric buses will offer an important health benefit for the children who ride them, as diesel-exhaust emissions are particularly harmful to their less-developed respiratory systems.

The first U.S. electric school bus recently entered service with the Kings Canyon Unified School District in California.

The Massachusetts initiatives are part of an effort by officials to put at least 300,000 plug-in vehicles on Bay State roads by 2025.

That, in turn, is part of a cooperative effort between Massachusetts and seven other states to encourage the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, with the ultimate goal of putting 3.3 million on their roads by 2025.


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