If you’ve considered switching to an electric vehicle, you probably know about the federal tax credit for EVs. But did you know there are also incentives and rebates for electric vehicle chargers? Read on to get all your EV charging incentive questions answered.
Buying an electric vehicle and an EV charging station is surprisingly easy and affordable, thanks to numerous incentives throughout the country. Rebates are available for the various aspects of EV ownership, including the vehicle itself, the charging station, charging station installation, and perks like EV utility rates, preferred parking, and free or lower-cost access to HOV lanes and toll roads.
The source for incentives can vary depending on where you live, the specific vehicle model you purchase, and the way the vehicle will be used, such as for personal or corporate use. The important thing is not to overlook incentives for buying the EV charging station, which is a critical component of a convenient and enjoyable EV ownership experience.
The federal government offers a tax credit for EV charger hardware and EV charger installation costs. It covers 30% of the costs with a maximum $1,000 credit for residents and $30,000 federal tax credit for commercial installs. And it’s retroactive, so you can still apply for installs made as early as 2017.
But Uncle Sam is not the only source that can help pay for an EV charger. Rebates are also available from utilities. When you take advantage of all the incentives, the cost of a charging station becomes affordable. Incentives are generally divided into two categories: (1) Private residential customers and (2) Commercial customers, including both retail businesses and multi-family dwellings. In some cases, the total cost is covered; in others it’s based on a percentage of the hardware and installation cost.
Over 30 different U.S. and Canadian utilities offer rebates for the purchase of residential EV charging equipment. The amounts range from about $150 to $750 per charger.
These programs have cut-off dates. Most tax incentive programs today have deadlines at the end of the year, with the potential to be renewed. Many incentives are available on a first-come, first-serve basis only up to a specific total budget, in some cases just a few thousand dollars. But they can run up into the millions. The smart move is to install the charging station (and claim the incentives) as soon as possible while funds are available.
Not all charging stations are created equal, and not all charging stations are eligible for the same amount of incentives. For example, California’s Anaheim Public Utilities offers up to $1,000 for a networked charger, which very well could cover all the costs. But the rebate drops to $400 for non-networked EV charging equipment. When shopping for an EV charging station, be sure to find out if it’s eligible for the tax incentive programs in your region. Enel X’s JuiceBox home EV charging stations are fully networked, Level 2 smart EV charging stations that qualify for nearly every residential incentive program.
The key is to look for what’s available in your area via the EV Rebate Checker. Then read the fine print and contact your utility or other incentive program coordinator if you still have questions. Pay attention to special requirements, such as Level 2 chargers that are Wi-Fi enabled.
Utilities understand the importance of transitioning to electric vehicles to help lower carbon emissions. Dozens of utilities throughout the US and Canada offer rebates. In many cases, these utility incentive programs require EV charging stations to be smart, networked EV charging stations such as Enel X’s JuiceBox Pro, which can help lower demand on the grid, reduce the need for grid infrastructure upgrades, and integrate renewables.
The dollar values for commercial rebates are usually between a few thousand dollars per Level 2 charging, and up to around $30,000 for DC fast charging stations. The exact amount available from any source can be based on whether it’s serving employees and customers in a business, or if it’s designed for a multi-family condo or apartment complex, or if it’s open to the public. Projects designed for low-income or multifamily communities often qualify for additional funds. A make-ready project that installs the foundation and infrastructure for charging stations (but not the equipment) can also get funding. Additional rebates to support purchasing the station itself can come later.
In some cases, an incentive program will cover anywhere from 50% to 100% of the full project costs, including the purchase of an EV charging station, as well as electrical infrastructure and installation costs. For instance, in Massachusetts, National Grid’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station Program will pay for the full project cost. Similarly, Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready Program offers rebates up to 100% of project costs. The rebate percentage varies depending on if it’s located in a disadvantaged community or multi-unit dwelling, both of which increase the percentage rate.
Utilities are the most common and generous source of rebates for commercial EVSE installations, but state and regional authorities also offer support, such as the California Energy Commission, which operates the CALeVIP incentive program, or the Colorado Energy Office and the Regional Air Quality Council, which jointly administer the Charge Ahead Colorado program.
After checking for electric vehicle incentive options from your local utility, it is a good idea to search for rebates and credits via state and county sources. As with utility rebates, states and counties offer amounts ranging from a couple hundred dollars for residential charging stations—to tens of thousands of dollars for public charging locations.
Keep in mind that states with more aggressive climate and air quality goals usually have the most generous incentives. The top 10 states supporting EV drivers have all adopted the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) program, and include Massachusetts, Oregon, New Jersey, Colorado, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Washington. Many additional states, such as Nevada, Minnesota, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas have recently adopted policies supporting EVs and will likely move higher up the list of top states for EVs.
Every state and program have slightly different rules. For example, the Southern California Incentive Project offers rebates of up to $80,000 for purchasing and installing commercial chargers—but only in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Meanwhile, the South Coast Air Quality Management District focuses on residential charging stations. The rebates for that program are up to $250 for a residential Level 2 EV charger, with additional funds available to low-income residents.
Incentives from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection work on a percentage basis. Rebates are for 50% of project costs—up to $2,000 per unit and $4,000 per site. In Florida, the ChargeUP! Sarasota County program offers rebates to businesses, non-profits, and local governments within Sarasota County only. Installing qualified Level 2 equipment can bring a rebate equal to 25 percent of the cost, up to $2,000.
These state-based rebates are usually associated with the department of energy, environmental protection agency, or a regional air quality district. Adding those terms to state-based searches will help you find discounts and rebates for EV charging stations—on top of federal and utility sources. Remember: You can stack up the incentives for remarkable savings.