Massachusetts took a big step forward recently by include nonprofits and business fleets in the state’s electric vehicle incentives. The move hopes to maximize the environmental impact of the program during a time where the economy has slowed statewide vehicle sales. Along with those sales, progress toward the state’s carbon emissions goals has also slowed.
Energy News Network shared the story of this state’s struggle to get residents to use EV rebates. Jordan Stutt, carbon program director at the Acadia Center, which is a nonprofit focused on the clean energy economy, said, “It’s a big step forward. There’s no pathway in which we hit our climate targets without rapid electrification of vehicle fleets.”
The program, known as the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV), began in 2014 and has been vital with helping the state achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Since 2014, MOR-EV has issued a total of $32,773,700 in rebates for EVs and PHEVs. Another goal set forth by Governor Baker is that the state will go completely carbon neutral by 2050.
MOR-EV previously provided rebates of up to $2,500 to consumers who buy a new EV. In 2019, the rebates were lowered to $1,500 due to the budget running low, but this caused EV demand to plummet. By mid-2019, the program wound up being completely suspended.
At the end of 2019, the state revived the program for two more years with $27 million in funding to cover more than 20,000 rebates for the two-year period — 10,000 per year. However, there has only been $1.5 million in rebates used on 727 EVs requested.
Anna Vanderspek, EV program director at the Green Energy Consumers Alliance, said, “The state dedicated a lot of funding to this program, and the way the market is going right now that money will not be spent out unless we expand the rebate.”
Program Expansion Details
The MOR-EV expansion became effective on June 25th and it includes:
- Rental car fleets.
- Livery vehicles.
- Cars provided to employees.
- Delivery vehicles owned by a business or nonprofit.
The eligibility guidelines are the same as those for private consumers: EVs must cost less than $50,000. The application must be submitted after taking possession of the vehicle but within three months of the purchase or lease date of the vehicle. The application also can’t be submitted after the rebate funds are exhausted, and the funds are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Battery-electric vehicles are eligible for a $2,500 rebate. Plug-in hybrids are eligible for a $1,500 rebate.
List of EVs That Qualify
- BMW i3
- BMW i3 REx
- Chevrolet Bolt EV
- Ford Focus Electric
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Kia Niro EV
- Kia Soul EV
- Mercedes-Benz B250e
- MINI Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door
- Nissan Leaf
- Nissan Leaf Plus
- Smart Electric Fortwo
- Tesla Model 3 (as long as the price doesn’t exceed $50,000)
- VW e-Golf
Three fuel cell EVs also qualify for the $2,500 rebate :
- Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
- Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell
- Toyota Mirai
The list of plug-in hybrid EVs that qualify for the $1,500 rebate are:
- Chevrolet Volt
- Chrysler Pacifica
- Ford Fusion Energi
- Honda Clarity PHEV
- Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
- Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid
- Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
- Kia Optima Plugin-in Hybrid
- Toyota Prius Prime
MOR-EV also noted that if the car dealership that a customer purchased their vehicle from is closed due to COVID-19 and the customer is unable to get the required supporting documents for their rebate application, that their applications will not be canceled. Those dates were from March 24 through May 4 of 2020.