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By stacking three incentives and current record-low lease pricing, Some low- to moderate-income drivers may eligible for increased EV incentives, which make it possible to lease or buy a new EV or purchase a used EV for a lower cost. Higher income drivers can still qualify for some incentives that will help reduce the price of a new or used EVs. There are over 40 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the market in California in all shapes and sizes – from small affordable sedans to larger cars, crossovers, SUVs, and minivans.

8 Steps to Qualify for a Free or Low-Cost Leased or Used Electric Vehicle

Do you qualify for the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program?

*This program is currently unavailable but projected to relaunch in 2022.  

Low- or moderate-income drivers (e.g., a family of four that makes less than $104,800) can qualify for this program, which offers a $5,000 grant to purchase or lease a new or used EV and $2,000 toward a charging station or $1,000 in credits for public charging stations. This rebate is applied at participating dealerships to help income-qualified Californians purchase or lease a used or new EV, plug-in hybrid, or hybrid vehicle. Start today to review program guidelines and see how it might work for you. 


*This program is currently waitlisted, but projected to relaunch at the end of 2021. Anyone who has recently purchased or leased a new EV can apply today to be placed on the waitlist. CVRP will begin to issue incentives to applicants on their waitlist when the program receives additional state funding. 

Those looking for a new EV may be eligible for a $2,000 rebate through this program. Low- or moderate-income drivers (e.g., a family of four that makes less than $104,800) may be eligible for an enhanced $4,500 rebate. Most people with an income under $150,000/single filer or $300,000/joint filer will qualify for a standard rebate of $2,000. This is a rebate you apply for after buying or leasing a new EV. It can take up to 90 days to receive. 


The California Clean Fuel Reward is available to anyone who buys or leases a new electric vehicle with a battery capacity greater than 5 kWh. The customer must register the vehicle in California and must reside in California. This reward of up to $1,500 is offered by participating dealerships at the point of sale. The total amount of reward funding depends on the size of the EVs battery, with smaller funding rewards for vehicles with smaller batteries and larger funding rewards for vehicles that have larger batteries.

Drivers that qualify for all three incentives above (a total of $11,000 in savings) could lease some of the most affordable pure EVs at a very low cost.

Many EV leases can cost less than $11,000 for three years. Leasing is traditionally not an affordable way to drive a new car but with all 3 EV incentives and low-cost leasing options for EVs, drivers that qualify for EV incentives of $3,500 or more may be able to lease an EV at very low cost. An incentive of $3,500 is enough to cover the down payment on many EVs. Any additional incentive funding that remains after the down payment can be used to cover monthly lease payments, which can be as low as $100 or $150 per month. Since home EV charging costs about 1/3-1/2 the price of gas, many drivers will also be able to cut down their monthly fuel costs, and these savings can make it easier to cover monthly lease payments on their new EV. 

Leasing a car can come with unexpected payments at the end of three years, especially if the vehicle has mileage overages or is turned in with damages or more than normal wear and tear. Before you lease, we recommend reading about the pros and cons of leasing and reviewing the hybrid and EV buying guide from Consumer Reports. 

Consider buying a used EV starting at $5,000 - $15,000 and find out about eligibility for Clean Vehicle Assistance Program down payment grants.

*This program is currently unavailable but projected to relaunch in early 2022. 

Used EVs are the most affordable option. Older used EVs may have ranges under 100 miles but can still be a good choice for households with more than one vehicle or people with shorter commutes. Used plug-in hybrids or pure EVs with 200+ mile ranges can start at $10,000-$15,000 and may be a better choice for one-car households or drivers with long commutes who may have to pay extra for a high-mileage lease. With a Clean Vehicle Assistance program down payment grant of up to $5,000, it may be possible to cover some or almost all of the cost for a used EV. 

Do you have access to charging at home, at work, or in your neighborhood?

The Clean Vehicle Assistance Program pays for up to $2,000 toward installing a charging station OR gives $1,000 in credits to use at public charging stations. 

*This program is currently unavailable but projected to relaunch in early 2022. 

Many EV drivers charge up overnight with a normal 110-volt outlet. A suitable outlet may already be available in a person’s garage or driveway and is a great low-cost solution for those who drive less than 50 miles per day. Another option is to add a 240-volt outlet, which allows people to charge the full 300+ miles of EV driving range overnight. Depending on the home, installing the outlet can cost as little as $500-$1,000. 

It is easiest for single-family homeowners to access home EV charging. If you live in a multifamily housing development or apartment, you may not have access to a 110- or 240-volt outlet. Renters are encouraged to contact their property manager or property owner if they would like to explore home charging options. Workplace charging can be a great back-up option for people who lack access to reliable home charging.  

If you need support to access charging where you live or work, contact us. 

Learn more from our recent EV 101 Webinar.

Watch the recording to learn about the 40+ models of EVs, the difference between pure EVs and plug-in hybrids, used versus new EVs, incentives, charging, and more.  

Please note that this webinar was recorded when all incentive programs were available. As of August 2021, some incentive programs have been closed or are waitlisting new applicantsThese incentive programs are expected to fully reopen in the coming months or early 2022. 


Join our mailing list to receive updates about incentive programs and notices about upcoming Electric Drive 805 events – including free webinars, workshops, and EV showcase and test-drives. You can ask us to contact when we reopen our free EV Purchase Guidance Assistance program if you’d like one-on-one support to purchase an EV Just mark Yes when you answer the question about Purchase Guidance on our sign up form.  

Be part of the transition to electric vehicles that are fast, reliable, affordable, cleaner for the air, and healthier for our families and communities! 

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