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Are EV rebates a good investment?

02/3/2020

Earlier this month, New Jersey Governor Murphy signed new legislation related to EVs that provides for EV rebates up to $5,000! This post from Plug In America shows recent updates to incentives in California, Colorado, Massachusetts and elsewhere aren't too far behind. However, are rebates to consumers the best way to lower the purchase price, and, hopefully, increase EV adoption?

In-the-know EV shoppers always check the deals on ev-vin.blogspot.com for the latest factory and dealer lease discounts. The pricing table from the end of January shows that a Chevy Bolt  can be leased (36 months, 10,000 miles per year) for a total cost of just $5,900 over 3 years ($164 per month, or just 20 cents per mile! sales tax excluded). Several other dealers in several states have the same vehicle for under $7,700. However, the national lease offer from Chevy is over $10,500, and the pricing table shows one lease with the same terms for over $15,000. Similar pricing discounts and differences can be found for nearly every make and model.

evvin

With this level of variability in the market for the exact same product and terms, perhaps it would be better for states to fund electric vehicle marketing campaigns. States already have the best marketing databases of all - vehicle registration data! It would be very easy for states to run highly effective and low cost marketing campaigns with that data.  In addition, there are many examples of utilities negotiating pricing discounts for their customers and promoting the EVs. Both of these approaches are very low cost and far more effective than just handing out rebates. 

It might take a little more work, but the savings for governments and EV drivers are great!   
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