In an effort to put at least a thousand more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by July 1999, the California Energy Commission has approved an incentive program with four automakers.
The Energy Commission's Vehicle Infrastructure Assistance Program will allocate $100,000 each to automakers currently marketing electric vehicles -- namely Ford Motor Company, American Honda, Toyota Motor Sales and General Motors Corporation. The funds will help EV buyers and lessors pay for charging equipment and installations.
Under the program, the Energy Commission will provide a $500 incentive that must be matched dollar-for-dollar by the participating automobile companies for each EV they sell or lease. If the EV buyer or lessor is in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the air district will add on another $250, for a total incentive of $1,250. The four auto companies will administer the program to enable customers to receive the incentive at the time of purchase. Automakers will be reimbursed by the Energy Commission.
Commissioner Jananne Sharpless, who chairs the Energy Commission's Transportation Committee, said after a succesful vehicle incentive program to help spur EV sales, the state has shifted gears to help customers pay for charging equipment. "By expanding the EV fueling infrastructure, we hope to further heighten public interest in these zero-emission vehicles," she said.
Currently, there are more than a thousand EVs registered in California.
Commissioner Sharpless' comments were echoed by Ray Buttacavoli, Sacramento-based regional manager for General Motors who said GM supported the infrastructure side of the EV program and will match the initial $100,000 allocated to the company.
The Energy Commission has set aside $270,000 to the program, in addition to $250,000 received from SCAQMD. The program may include funds from other sources such as air districts, regional, state and federal government agencies, to increase total incentive amounts.
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