California reintroduces bill to subsidize aftermarket electric conversions
California Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank) has reintroduced some Specialty Equipment Market Association-sponsored legislation to create a financial rebate program for converting gas- and diesel-powered vehicles into zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs). If enacted, SB 301 will offer Californians up to $2000 for converting their car or truck into a ZEV.
Currently, the state’s existing rebate programs serve only those purchasing new vehicles—none assist with ZEV conversions of gas-powered vehicles that started their life with an internal-combustion engine.
SEMA claims the government is “choosing winners and losers in the marketplace, including California’s 2035 ban on new gas- and diesel-powered cars and trucks.” The legislation, Portantino said, is designed to help working families in California obtain electric vehicles while assisting California in meeting its climate goals.
“It is essential that we continue to look for new methods and ideas to meet our strong climate goals,” said Portantino. “SB 301 will make it much easier for many Californians who have the desire to go green but lack the financial capacity to do so. It will aide conversion by providing a financial rebate for Californians who choose to convert their gas-powered car into an electric vehicle but can’t afford to do so. Cutting edge energy efficiency should not be reserved only for those wealthy enough to afford it.”
California has multiple programs, including the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program and the Clean Cars for All Program, to promote the purchase of new ZEVs. However, even with a financial rebate to purchase a new electric vehicle, ZEVs are unaffordable for many working-class Californians, with the cost of a new electric vehicle averaging at $66,000. ZEV conversions of gas-powered vehicles that started their life with an internal-combustion engine can be converted to a ZEV via an aftermarket package, alternatively, and can be converted for as little as $14,000, Portantino said.
Under the bill, The California Air Resources Board (CARB) would develop guidelines for the program, define eligible applicants, eligible replacement motors, parts, and conversion types. Income limits are in place to ensure that financial rebates are reserved for those who cannot afford to purchase a new electric vehicle. SB 301 will additionally benefit automotive workers and small automotive repair and ZEV conversion businesses. As a result, ZEV conversion businesses can expand, creating new, green jobs across California, Portantino said.
“The aftermarket is a leader in innovation, and that includes in zero-emissions technologies,” said SEMA President and CEO Mike Spagnola. “SB 301 creates opportunities for our California-based small businesses, their employees and consumers to build and have access to affordable zero-emissions vehicles.”
SEMA is sponsoring the legislation to “incentivize consumers to convert their vehicles to cleaner engines,” following a similar bill introduced last year that passed in the Assembly with zero opposition. The bill stalled in California’s upper house of legislature, the California Senate.
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