Utility Offers $450 Rebate for Electric Cars—even Used Ones

CC BY 2.0. Sami Grover

I've raved about my experiences driving a used 2013 Nissan Leaf before. And while I never benefitted directly from the tax incentives that new electric car buyers get, the $11,000 price tag was likely due in no small part to the fat tax credits that the first owner received.

Now Cleantechnica reports that customers of utility Southern California Edison (SCE) can benefit from a $450 rebate if they buy or lease an eligible electric or plug-in hybrid car—even if they purchase it secondhand! It can all be done online via the Clean Fuel Rewards website, and you can check the eligibility of a vehicle via California's Drive Clean initiative. (There are a good number of vehicles to choose from.)

This is, to be clear, a pretty amazing deal. For buyers of new electric cars in California, this will come on top of the very generous state ($1,500 - $2,500) and federal ($7,500) rebates, HOV access decals etc, and for used car buyers, it will mean a sizable chunk of change on top of the already very good economics of buying a low maintenance, low running cost vehicle such as a used Nissan Leaf.

Now, hmm, I wonder why a utility would want us driving electric cars?

Be warned though: There are reports that the growth in cities around the world banning or otherwise restricting gas and diesel engines is actually leading to a recent price appreciation for used Nissan Leafs. It's possible that initiatives like Southern California Edison's may further drive up demand, and thus have an impact on prices.

Either way, it's one more sign that electric vehicles are likely here to stay. And in California—where SCE is also investing heavily in EV charging infrastructure, and where the grid is increasingly powered by renewables, this is a particularly good thing.

Who's willing to bet that California's 91% growth in new electric car sales may soon be eclipsed by even bigger numbers?