Electric Vehicle Rebates Shifting In Bid To Lure More Buyers

Some drivers looking to switch to an electric vehicle now have access to a new and more generous subsidy called for under this year’s climate law, but the state’s EV incentive program plans to roll out even more changes in the spring, the Baker administration announced Thursday.

Eligible light-duty battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles qualify for a rebate of $3,500 through the MOR-EV program as of Nov. 10, so long as they are purchased or leased for less than $50,000 by a Massachusetts resident and registered here for at least 36 months. That’s the minimum rebate called for under the new climate law. Previously, those EVs qualified for a rebate of $2,500. The $1,500 rebate available for eligible plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that have an all-electric range of 25 miles or more has not changed and the administration said that rebate will be phased out in the spring.

“By making these significant changes to the MOR-EV Program, more people will be eligible to receive rebates that offset the cost of electric vehicles purchases, making them more affordable and further accelerating our efforts to decarbonize the transportation sector,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card said.

Card has said that Massachusetts will need to have at least 200,000 passenger electric vehicles on the roads by 2025 and 900,000 by 2030 in order to meet its decarbonization commitments. There are so far about 55,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids on the roads in Massachusetts, the secretary said last month.

In addition to phasing out the rebates for plug-in hybrid EVs in the spring, an FAQ page on the MOR-EV website said that the program also “anticipates initiating a point-of-sale rebate program, which will allow car buyers to take full advantage of their rebates at the time of purchase or lease” in the spring.

The climate law that Gov. Charlie Baker signed in August included provisions requiring the MOR-EV program to increase and expand rebates for purchasing or leasing a new or used zero-emissions vehicle, but it did not include any funding for those enhanced rebates. Lawmakers instead provided MOR-EV money in the separate $3.8 billion economic development bill that was not signed into law until last week. 

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