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Your California EV tax incentives could dry up come March

The Golden State will soon roll out income-based tax incentives for partial- or full-electric vehicle ownership.

Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S is eligible for an incentive, but its $70,000 price tag makes it unattainable for a great many car buyers.

Tax incentives for purchasing electric vehicles sound like a win-win, because you help advance new tech while saving a bit of coin. Many have complained, however, that current incentives are structured to benefit the rich, those most able to shoulder additional costs. California is addressing this concern by reshuffling its incentives based on income, the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project has announced.

For individuals making more than $250,000 per year and joint-filers making more than $500,000, nearly all state incentives will disappear. After the program kicks off in March, those in this bracket can only reap the $5,000 benefit for buying a hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV).

The lowest bracket, which covers up to three times the federal poverty level ($35,310 for individuals, $60,270 for a family of three), will see its incentives grow by $1,500 each. These folks can receive $4,000 off an electric vehicle, $3,000 off a plug-in hybrid and $6,500 off a hydrogen car.

Every person or family that falls between those two values will see no change. For this group, incentives remain at $2,500 per EV, $1,500 per plug-in and $5,000 per FCEV. Thus, if you reside in the top tier, you might be wise to move up your purchase to take advantage of the current incentive structure.