Buying an electric car? Texas wants to pay you

The deal — which doesn’t include fleet vehicles — applies to vehicles that are purchased or leased. The rebates are prorated over three years for leases.

The offer applies to vehicles bought starting Sept. 1. The program ends May 31, 2019, or when the money runs out. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality can award a maximum of 1,000 of the natural gas rebates and 2,000 of the electric and hydrogen fuel cell rebates.

In this program’s previous incarnation, Texas drivers weren’t in a hurry to claim the money. A Dallas Morning News story said at the time that there was $3 million — or 40 percent of the total — still left with five weeks remaining.

But the TCEQ ultimately distributed 1,896 of the 2,000 electric car slots. Just 10 percent of the natural gas slots were filled; compressed natural gas vehicles are mostly used as part of fleets.

The agency didn’t have specific projections for this round of rebates, but a spokeswoman said there was a “high level of anticipation and interest.”

An Axios/Survey Monkey poll released this week found that 14 percent of U.S. adults were “extremely” or “very” likely to buy an electric car as their next purchase. Another 23 percent said they were “somewhat” likely.

The top issue holding buyers back — even more than the cost — was the lack of charging stations. The issue of “range anxiety” has been a problem for the electric car industry, even as ranges have increased and charging stations are more common. Depending on the model, electric vehicles can get anywhere from under 100 miles to more than 300 miles on a full charge. 

Electric car proponents are pressing the state to use some of  its Volkswagen diesel scandal settlement money to pay for electric car charging stations. As much as $31 million could be used for that purpose.

The Public Interest Research Group released a report in February saying that Dallas had 177 car charging stations at businesses and on public property.  But the city would need nearly 3,000 by 2030, according to the study.

The TCEQ, however, will have to decide among several options, including more diesel. The Diesel Technology Forum, an industry trade group, is encouraging the state to use the money to replace older commercial and industrial diesel vehicles with newer, cleaner ones.

Nino Plevnik

I am an electric cars lover. I love our planet and want to leave it in good condition to our children. One of the good ways to do this is to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere. As a technical person I worked on computers, hardware maintenance and programming. Otherwise I like advanced technologies, music, books, movies, life and nice weather.

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