The CA Senate Approves State Grants For EVs

October 01, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

The California Senate (Sacramento, CA) has voted 29-8 to approve legislation authorizing state grants of up to $9,000 to encourage consumers to buy or lease electric vehicles (EVs). The proposal by Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, was designed to soften the impact of the higher prices of EVs. It would enable individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies to get up to $3,000 a year for the first three years when they lease or buy an electric vehicle.The actual size of the grant would be based on a percentage of the extra cost of the electric vehicle over the price of a comparable gasoline-powered auto, up to a maximum of $9,000 total. The bill allocates $18 million to the state Air Resources Board (ARB) to pay for the program. ARB regulations require that, starting with 2003 models, up to 10 percent of new cars and light trucks marketed in the state by major manufacturers be zero-emission vehicles. Currently, only battery-powered electric vehicles would qualify as zero emission and be eligible for grants under the Lowenthal bill.The ARB estimates that electric vehicles cost about $7,500 to $20,000 more to produce than gasoline-powered cars, not counting research and development expenses. However, the cost gap will narrow as technology improves and manufacturers move to volume production.