State’s New “CHEAPR” Program Makes Price of Alternative Vehicles More Competitive
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that Connecticut is making it “cheaper” to purchase or lease an electric vehicle as a result of the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate Program (CHEAPR).
Under this new initiative, a cash rebate of up to $3,000 is now available for Connecticut residents, businesses, and municipalities who purchase or lease an eligible electric vehicle (EV). EVs covered by CHEAPR include battery electric, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
“This rebate puts money right back in people’s pockets and makes the cost of purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle competitive with the price of a conventional car,” Governor Malloy said. “Putting more Connecticut drivers behind the wheel of an EV is what it will take to drive down harmful carbon emissions linked to climate change, reduce conventional pollutants that threaten our air quality and public health, and help motorists reduce the cost of owning and operating a car.”
The Governor continued, “As we move further into the 21st Century, new technologies – such as EVs – can help us build a healthy economy, create jobs, and address the energy and environmental challenges we face. These new CHEAPR rebates will provide an added incentive for consumers to embrace new approaches and help lead the way to a more sustainable future.”
Rebates offered through the CHEAPR program are on a sliding scale, with the maximum $3,000 amount for those who purchase or lease an EV with the greatest battery capacity. Rebates of $1,500 and $750 will be provided for EVs that travel shorter distances on battery power. Full details are available at www.evconnecticut.com.
Funds for the CHEAPR pilot program, which is being administered through the EVConnecticut program, come from $1 million that was made available to the state as a result of an agreement that allowed for the merger of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR. The merger of those companies, now known as Eversource Energy, was completed on April 12, 2012.
“Electric vehicle incentive programs are extremely effective. Our dealerships have been selling electric vehicles for many years. We know this new rebate will help get more consumers to decide to make this investment in a new car and the environment,” Jim Fleming, President of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, said. “We want to thank Governor Malloy and Commissioner Klee for having the foresight to secure the funding for this program and continuing to strengthen the electric vehicle market.”
“CHEAPR rebates will help us address carbon emissions in the transportation sector, which is critical to achieving Connecticut’s climate change goals,” Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee said. “The cars and trucks we all drive are the largest single source of carbon emissions in our state, accounting for about 40 percent of the greenhouse gases produced here. Gasoline powered cars and trucks are also the single, biggest in-state source of pollutants that produce ozone. This creates the hazy smog that causes respiratory ailments for thousands of our residents each year during the summer months.”
The CHEAPR initiative is the latest step in Connecticut’s effort to encourage the use of alternative vehicles. Through EVConnecticut, DEEP has already:
- Partnered with the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association on a contest that offered awards to the dealerships that sold or leased the highest number of EVs.
- Provided about $400,000 in grants to fund the installation of 160 EV chargers, some of which are still being installed. Under terms of the grants, the charging stations must be available to the public free of charge.
- With chargers funded through the EVConnecticut grant program and those installed by others, there are currently 349 publicly available EV chargers in Connecticut, making this the first “range confident” state in the nation.
The CHEAPR program will also help Connecticut achieve the goals of the eight-state, bi-coastal Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan designed to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
According to R.L. Polk and Company, which provides data on the automotive industry, there are 2,754 EVs currently registered in Connecticut.
In addition to CHEAPR rebates, consumers can take advantage of a Federal Income Tax Credit to help drive down the cost of purchasing a new plug-in electric vehicle. The credit ranges from $2,500 to $7,500, based on the battery capacity of the vehicle.
Owners of EVs also benefit from lower costs for maintenance, repairs, and operating expenses. Electricity used to fuel an EV is equivalent to paying about a $1.70 per gallon gasoline. Since many EVs operate on batteries only, they do not require oil changes or onboard vehicle pollution controls and are exempt from emissions testing. Taken together, these savings make the total cost of owning an EV lower than traditional vehicles.
CHEAPR rebates are being offered at three levels:
- The maximum $3,000 rebate is available for vehicles with a battery capacity of 18 kWh or greater of for any fuel cell electric vehicle. Vehicles in this category include the Nissan Leaf, VW e-Golf, Ford Focus Electric, BMW i3, and Mercedes Benz B class.
- A $1,500 rebate is available for vehicles with a batter capacity of seven to 18 kWH. Vehicles in this category include the Chevy Volt, Ford C-Max and Fusion Energi.
- A $750 rebate is available for vehicles with a battery capacity of less than 7 kWH, such as the 2015 model year Toyota Prius Plug-In.
Rebates will be available until the $1 million in funding is distributed to consumers. If additional funding becomes available, the program may be extended.