The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality yesterday announced it is now processing all Charge Ahead rebate applications, which are available to low- and middle-income households, as part of the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. While DEQ has distributed Standard rebates since late 2018, the Charge Ahead rebate applications have been stored in a queue while the agency retained a contractor with the security standards required to protect financial data. DEQ has now retained the Center for Sustainable Energy, a non-profit clean energy program administrator, to manage the rebates, as well as develop an easy-to-use digital dashboard and marketing strategies to expand consumer awareness.
“The Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebates Program has already issued more than $9 million in Standard rebates since launching in December 2018,” said Ali Mirzakhalili, air quality division administrator, DEQ. “With CSE’s extensive and secure infrastructure, rebates will now go out more quickly. We hope these rebates will encourage more Oregonians than ever to purchase zero emission vehicles and partner with us to improve air quality while saving money.”
The Oregon Clean Vehicle Program has two types of cash rebates for drivers who purchase or lease electric vehicles. The first is the Standard rebate, which gives $1500 or $2500 back for the purchase or lease for a new battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The vehicle’s battery capacity determines the rebate amount. Additionally, a purchase or lease of a zero-emission electric motorcycle qualifies for a $750 rebate.
Next is the Charge Ahead rebate, which gives $2500 back to low- or moderate-income households when they purchase or lease a new or used battery electric vehicle. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles purchased on or after Sept. 29, 2019 also qualify for this rebate. DEQ has an Income Eligibility Calculator that can help determine if a household is qualified for money back. CSE is processing applications in the order they were received, beginning with those submitted in 2018. It is currently contacting all Charge Ahead applicants via email to request proof of household income.
“We are proud to assist Oregon DEQ in their efforts to extend electric vehicle rebates to low- and moderate-income residents who are often the most impacted by transportation emissions and the least able to purchase a cleaner car,” said Lawrence Goldenhersh, president of the Center for Sustainable Energy. “The added value of these rebates, in particular the Charge Ahead rebate for used EVs, will help greater numbers of Oregonians to make more sustainable personal transportation choices while supporting state and local goals for cleaner air and reduced fossil-fuel emissions.”
In addition, the Environmental Quality Commission, DEQ’s policy and rulemaking board, recently made permanent previously temporary rules, which broaden the definition of a “household” and allow more people to apply for the Charge Ahead rebate.
“Currently, transportation accounts for nearly 40 percent of Oregon’s greenhouse gases,” said Gov. Kate Brown. “In order to help lower our emissions to our targets, it’s vital to make sure that we are doing all we can to provide viable and affordable alternatives for sustainable transportation, including participating in the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program.”
Last August, DEQ and other state agencies announced that Oregon had registered more than 26,000 electric vehicles, marking more than halfway to Governor Brown’s goal of 50,000 electric vehicles registered in the state by the end of 2020.
Since 2018, DEQ has received $12 million a year for the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program through funding generated from a tax imposed on car dealers. The program and annual subsidy will end on Jan. 2, 2024.
— Susan Mills, public affairs specialist