High demand for certain new EV models has led to dealer markups which, in California at least, could be preventing customers from getting purchase incentives, according to a new report.
Due to lack of funds, California has placed EV buyers on waitlists for its purchase incentives, and while waiting some have found that dealerships have marked up the cars they plan to buy, according to CalMatters.
State programs meant to give rebates to lower-income car buyers "have suffered from inconsistent and inadequate funding," according to the report. This year's funding for some programs ran out in April, and even the waitlists were shut down because of backlogs, the report said.
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Even programs that are funded reportedly suffer from slow response times, as administrators are inundated with requests for money. In the current new-car market, with low supplies and rampant dealer markups, it's a particularly bad time to make car buyers wait.
California is still accepting applications for Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) incentives, which provides rebates of up to $2,000 for EVs and $1,500 for plug-in hybrids, but applicants are waiting up to two months to find out if they've been accepted or rejected, according to the report. The largest of California's EV incentive programs, the CVRP includes MSRP and income caps, which were lowered earlier this year.
Last November, regulators also shrunk the separate California Clean Fuel Reward (CCFR) rebate, which now maxes out at $750. And earlier this year it considered restructuring incentives toward low-income "gasoline superusers." Coined by advocacy group Coltura, this term refers to a small number of drivers that consume an outsize amount of fossil fuels.
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Some efforts are also being made to revamp current incentive application procedures. A bill was introduced earlier this year to do that for the regional Clean Cars 4 All programs, which operate in specific California clean-air districts, CalMatters reported. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is also reportedly working to combine the Clean Cars 4 All and Clean Vehicle Assistance programs, expanding them statewide, and introducing "needs-based" criteria that prioritize residents who qualify for public assistance programs, such as Medicaid or Section 8 housing.
California aims to end sales of new internal-combustion vehicles in 2035, but to get there it seems the state's many EV incentive programs need a significant overhaul. Those programs could be the difference between someone buying an EV and not being able to afford it, so the money will have to flow more freely.