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Electric cars and plug-in hybrids discounted by $1,500 in California thanks to new rebate

The revamped California Clean Fuel Reward now takes $1,500 off an EV or plug-in hybrid right at the point of sale.

Discounts! Who doesn't like a good discount?

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California has long been a leader in attempting to coax new car buyers into an electric or electrified vehicle, and those vehicles just became $1,500 cheaper for Californians. The state on Tuesday announced its revamped California Clean Fuel Reward program to chop $1,500 off the price of a new electric car or plug-in hybrid, right at the point of sale. This isn't a tax credit. It's a true discount.

The only catch is the size of the battery pack. Much like current federal tax credits, there's a threshold on the rebate in California. A vehicle must include a battery pack with at least 16 kilowatt-hours of energy to qualify for the full $1,500 discount. Below that, there are smaller monetary rewards available. Battery-electric cars will have zero issue with the threshold, since their batteries are all much bigger than that. Plug-in hybrids use an internal-combustion engine in conjunction with a battery pack, which may or may not meet that figure.

The program also applies to both purchases and leases and it still works with all other federal, state and local rebates or tax credits for electric or electrified cars. Dealerships and retailers will need to enroll in the CCFR program to hand out the $1,500 discount, but it's hard to imagine reluctance to state-funded discounts on new cars.

The state said in its announcement the funds are meant to help transition California away from fossil fuels on its road to a ban on the sale of new cars powered by gasoline and diesel. Come 2035, the state will no longer allow automakers to sell cars with an internal-combustion engine. The $1,500 rebate is a small step towards making such a policy a reality.

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