Frequently Asked Questions
Will my credit be affected if I enroll in the EV Equity program?
There is no credit check required to participate in the EV Equity program nor to apply for any grants or rebates. Your credit score will be considered as a typical practice during the vehicle financing process.
Will the EV Equity Program help me with financing/applying for a loan?
The EV Equity Program is not a financial institution. However, we can help connect you with financial education if you request it.
Am I able to have a cosigner?
The incentive applicant must be the one purchasing the vehicle. However, they may have a cosigner for financing purposes. If the cosigning party is a spouse, claimant, or domestic partner, their income will need to be verified for incentive approval purposes. If the cosigning party is not a spouse, claimant or domestic partner, their income does not need to be verified. Keep in mind that the name on the program and incentive documents must match throughout the process. The only time more than one person can be involved on the same paperwork is if there is a cosigner or a co-owner of the vehicle.
EV Equity Program Questions
I have questions, who can I talk to?
If your question is not answered in this FAQ page, please send all your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may call our office as well. Please note: due to high interest, our phone lines are impacted and have higher than normal wait times. All email questions will be responded to within 24 hours, unless staff needs to confirm information with the state and regional programs.
I submitted a form on the "Get started" page. What is the next step?
California’s down payment incentive programs closed on June 26, 2023 and September 5, 2023 due to exhaustion of funds. By filling out the form, you will be added to a notification waitlist for when the incentive programs receive more funding and re-open. The estimated timeframe is late 2023 to early 2024.
I submitted an intake form. Why haven't I heard anything?
California’s down payment assistance programs are currently closed. Currently, residents who fill out an intake form will be added to a notification waitlist. No action is required at this time.
What kind of electric vehicles does the EV Equity Program assist with?
The EV Equity Program provides assistance for the purchase or lease of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or a battery electric vehicle (BEV). Standard hybrid vehicles do not qualify for the program. Please visit our Eligible Electric Vehicles page to see our list of eligible vehicles.
What is the cost of enrolling in the EV Equity Program?
There is no cost to participate in the EV Equity Program. This is a state funded program that assists you in learning about electric vehicles and navigating the various electric vehicle incentive applications. Visit our Get Started page today.
My EV is already ordered, can I still participate in the program?
We encourage you to visit Drive Clean in the San Joaquin to apply for their after purchase rebate. Click here.
How often should I expect to receive communication from the EV Equity Program?
The EV Equity Program communicates primarily via emails and Zoom meetings. During your first appointment with us, we will discuss which methods you prefer to best reach you. An updates newsletter will be sent out monthly, and we will further communicate as needed.
Am I required to travel to the EV Equity Program office to begin my applications?
No. The EV Equity Program conveniently offers virtual online appointments. We do not have in person office capacity at this time.
What If I am late to my virtual apointment?
Please arrive to your appointment on time or five minutes early to ensure there are no technical difficulties. We have a 10 minute late policy in place. Appointments will automatically cancel after 10 minutes. If you are running late or have an emergency, please notify EV Equity Program staff immediately and we will accommodate your needs. If you miss three appointments without notifying the EV Equity Program staff, it will be your responsibility to reinstate participation with the program.
Will the EV Equity Program help me find an electric vehicle?
Our team updates our ‘Eligible Electric Vehicles‘ and ‘Participating Dealerships’ pages so you have regular access to qualifying vehicles, and participating dealership information. You will be responsible for researching and finding a vehicle that suits you and your family’s budget, lifestyle and needs.
Does the EV Equity Program fund the EV grants and rebates?
No. The EV Equity Program is not the administrator of the incentive program funds.
Incentive Program Questions
Can I expect to get approved for the EV incentives by participating in the EV Equity Program?
By participating in the EV Equity program, we determine preliminary eligibility for incentives based on the information you provide us. However, we cannot guarantee that you will receive approval from the incentive programs. Our EV Equity Team streamlines communication with the incentive program staff to keep you informed about your application status. If you are rejected, and would like clarification, we can request an explanation on your behalf.
I can't wait. Can I go to the dealership and get these incentives off of my EVs price?
California’s down payment grants require pre-approval. If you have not been pre-approved for the down payment grants, you will not be able to apply these grants to your purchase contract.
How long do I have to use the incentive money if I am approved?
On average, your redemption window can be 30 to 60 days. The program approval documents will outline those deadlines for purchasing your EV. We also encourage you to have an idea of the vehicle you want before applying for incentives. This will help to speed up the purchase process once you are approved.
What do I need to start the incentive application process?
After enrolling in the EV Equity Program, the EV Equity Team will need the requested documents listed in the Documents Checklist from the Introduction Packet. Once our team receives your documents, a one–on–one meeting with an EV Equity Specialist will be scheduled to confirm eligibility, talk about your vehicle needs, and request additional documents, if necessary. Visit our Get Started page today.
How long will it take to know if i am approved for down payment assistance?
If you have already worked with EV Equity Program staff to submit your incentive applications to the state, processing times may take a month or more.
How many times can I apply for EV grants and rebates?
Each incentive program has different application requirements. Generally, you can only apply once. Your EV Equity Specialist can explain re-application conditions more in depth.
What if I can’t buy a NEW electric vehicle?
We understand that not everyone can afford to purchase a new vehicle. There are currently limited incentives for used vehicles. If you are a Clean Vehicle Assistance Program grant recipient, please speak to program staff on guidelines for used EVs.
If you are not a Clean Vehicle Assistance Program grant recipient: At this time, there is no down payment assistance grants available for used EVs. After purchase rebates for used EVs are available through PG&E and SoCal Edison only. If you own a vehicle that is 2006 or older, you can receive up to $9500 to scrap and replace your gas powered vehicle through a separate program HERE.
Can I purchase or lease an electric vehicle from any dealership?
Electric vehicles purchased or leased with the down-payment incentive grants must be purchased or leased from participating dealerships. If a dealership is not enrolled, it may be possible to enroll them, but is not guaranteed. Visit our Participating Dealerships page to learn more.
How will I know if I am eligible for EV grants and rebates?
The EV Equity Program provides a preliminary screening to determine your eligibility. The incentive programs we work with will conduct a more in-depth verification to determine a final decision. Visit our Get Started page today.
Do I have to pay back any money if I use these incentives?
No. As long as you follow the requirements outlined in the incentive program terms and conditions (register, insure, and own the EV in CA for a minimum of 30 months) you will not have to pay back any grant funding.
Can multiple people in a household apply for incentives?
Yes. Each applicant is treated as an individual, as long as each person plans on purchasing or leasing their own vehicle.
How will I receive the incentive funding if I am approved?
If you apply for down payment assistance toward your new clean vehicle and are approved, you will receive an approval letter via email. The dealership will then use this approval letter as proof of available funding (for the awarded amount) for down payment and will work with the incentive programs to ensure the transfer of funds is processed. If you apply for any rebates after you purchase or lease your vehicle, you will receive a check in the mail within 2-3 months of submitting your application.
Can I move out of state with my EV?
The incentives have a requirement of having the vehicle registered in the state of California for a minimum of 30 months. Once you have passed that time frame, you are free to move or even sell the vehicle.
Is there a price cap for the EVs that qualify for the incentives?
When purchasing or leasing a new EV, California’s down payment assistance programs have different vehicle price caps.
The Clean Vehicle Assistance Program requires vehicle prices to be capped at $45,000 – this is including mark ups, taxes, and fees.
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project: rebate Now has 2 price caps that depend on the classification of the vehicle. These price caps refer to the base Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the following vehicle categories:
- Base MSRP of $60,000 or less for vehicles that fall under the Large vehicles category. This includes minivans, pickups, crossovers, and SUVs.
- Base MSRP of $45,000 or less for vehicles that fall under the Cars category. These are all otherlight-duty vehicles (e.g.; hatchbacks, sedans, wagons, and two-seaters).
I want to buy from a dealer that isn’t enrolled in the EV incentive programs. What should I do?
If you find an EV at a San Joaquin Valley dealership that is not participating in the down-payment assistance programs, you can refer the dealerships to the state down payment programs to learn more about the grants. For the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program dealership page, click here. For the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project dealership page, click here. Time of enrollment will depend on how fast a dealership provides documentation to the incentive programs and undergo a short training.
Is a Hybrid vehicle the same as a Plug-in hybrid?
Hybrids are defined as vehicles that have a regular gas-powered engine and a very small elec-tric battery that is charged by regenerative braking; meaningthe small 1-2 kwh battery is recharged when you brake. The wheels are powered by both the gasoline and electric motor and can’t be plugged in to charge the battery.
Plug-in Hybrids are defined as a vehicle that is gas and battery powered, but the battery is significantly larger and can be charged by plugging into a standard outlet in your garage. Plug-inhybrids can drive on battery power alone with an electric range of up to 50 miles and a totalrange of up to 620 miles when combined with gas power. When the battery runs out, the gasengine takes over and the car operates the same as a regular hybrid until you plug it in andrecharge the battery. Plug-in hybrids are eligible for the incentives as long as they can travel a minimum of 30 all-electric miles.
Visit our Battery Electric vs Plug-in Hybrid page for more information.
What is the lifespan of an electric vehicle battery?
When considering the mileage on a new or used electric vehicle, keep in mind that EV warranties are generally longer than those of gas-powered cars. Powertrain warranties can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Typically, they cover at least five years or 60,000 miles, though some last as long as 10 years or 100,000 miles. Hybrid and EV battery warranty coverage often lasts longer. Federal law requires automakers to ensure EV and hybrid batteries for at least eight years or 100,000 miles. California goes even further, requiring a 10-year, 150,000-mile warranty on EV and hybrid batteries.
Are Battery Warranties Transferable?
Many, but not all, manufacturers transfer warranties when a new owner buys a used EV or hybrid. If you’re shopping for a used hybrid or EV, having a transferable warranty that includes battery coverage should be a crucial financial consideration.
Do Original Warranties Cover Battery Life Loss?
Most EV and hybrid battery warranties specify when the manufacturer will replace the battery. It’s best practice to find out the warranty of battery life loss is for the vehicle you are interested in so you know what investment you are making.
Do EV Batteries Degrade?
Every electric car on the market in 2022 uses a lithium-ion battery. It’s the same type found in cell phones. You’ve probably noticed that your cell phone battery degrades over time, showing its age by not holding its charge like it did when new. The same is true of hybrid and EV batteries. They become a little less efficient with every year. While good battery hygiene can minimize the loss of battery life, nothing can stop it. Recurrent is a company that tracks EV battery life. Their services include a battery life report, acting much like a vehicle history report for batteries. Studies by Recurrent have found that most EVs lose 5-10% of their battery life in the first five years of ownership.
Do I have to install a charger? What if I rent?
EV owners don’t necessarily need to install a charging unit for their car at home. Some rely solely on public or workplace charging for their EVs. There are portable options, like this level 1/ level 2 interchangeable portable charger for those who cannot install a unit. For public charging stations, there are numerous companies competing for your business. Each has their own proprietary charging stations and software, and often require RFID cards to use them. Sign up for each of the services in your area (they are usually free) so that you have their cards in your possession before you even get your vehicle. Installing a home charging unit in your garage or overnight parking space simplifies day-to-day driving and provides peace of mind that your car will begin each day with a full battery.
How much range will I need?
There are several reasons you might need more range than you think. One is that automakers recommend you charge the battery to 80% or 90% on a regular basis — and try not to drop below 10% if you can avoid it — to extend its life, saving a full 100% charge for long trips. That means you’re immediately cutting the EPA-estimated, manufacturer-advertised range by up to 30% for daily use if you want maximum longevity. It’s difficult to say just how much range you need. You might not need as much as you think, or you might need more range than you think. Ideally, your home becomes the “gas” station, so every night you plug in and recharge the car to start the day with range replenished. Most data (pre-coronavirus pandemic) suggests the average driver travels less than 30-40 miles per day, so you’d be in good shape without much variation in daily driving habits considering the average standard EPA-estimated driving range of 2022 model EVs is around 260 miles on a full charge. How much range you need depends on how far you drive, in what conditions, and your access to public as well as home charging.
What is the HOV lane (Access OK) sticker for EVs?
HOV lane (Access OK) stickers grant you access to carpool lanes as a clean vehicle driver, regardless of passenger quantity.