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Seduction: Cash-in-your-pocket incentives

January 19, 2013

One of the main reasons my husband picked a Nissan Leaf over a Chevy Volt was the difference in the price, and the slew of incentives that Nissan, the state of California and the U.S. government offer for going fully electric.


Here is rundown of the financial incentives.

It started at the dealership, Sunnyvale Nissan in Sunnyvale, California. We can’t say enough about the guys there. My husband found them patient with his many questions. They were very knowledgeable about the Leaf, even as it was clear that they wanted to sweep out the Leafs (or is it “Leaves”) before 2012 ended. That was to our advantage. To lease the Leaf for three years, we were required to put down $5,500. However, the salesman waived a total of $2,000 at the start.

Also, there is a $7,500 federal tax credit, which were told was applied to reduce the total cost of the three-year lease of the vehicle.

Instead of paying an estimated $1,500 to install a charging station at our home, we expect to have one built for us for almost free.

The application is here.  The program – which has a limited pool of money – is funded by the United States Department of Energy. The American Re-investment and Recovery Act (ARRA) is intended to “accelerate the development and production of various electric drive vehicle systems to substantially reduce petroleum consumption.” What that means is that they want to build tons of charging stations because without them, living with an electric car is tough. Here is an overview of the project.

It is open to a total of 5,700 Nissan Leaf owners, who in return, will allow data to be collected as part of the EV Project. Therefore, you need to have a WiFi connection. That information, for example, can help pinpoint differences is how climate affects the range of a batter charge. Cold weather is a big challenge for these cars.

Right now, we charge the car with our regular 120 volt household electrical outlets, but it takes all night to charge, and a total of up to 21 hours to go from zero charge to a full load. A 240-volt home charging station will cut that time to about six hours, and hopefully, add to the re-sale value of our house.  We are told that it will be a Blink charger. Chevy Volts do not qualify for this project.

We also are applying for a $2,500 refund from California’s Center for Sustainable Energy. The information is here. You must own or lease the vehicle for at least three years to qualify or the state claims it will ask you to return the money. I guess we are committed to a three-year run on this! Plug-in hybrids such as the Volt qualify for a smaller grant of $1,500.

Also, if you live in California, once you are behind the wheel of a Leaf, and your vehicle is registered with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, you can apply to receive a HOV-lane sticker to help get you to work faster. Each sticker costs $8.

If all these incentives come through we will have saved a grand total of $6,000. If you count the $7,500 tax credit mentioned above, we were provided $13,500 to go electric. Not bad! Stay tuned to see if they all come through. One reader of this blog wrote me to say that he failed to receive the federal tax credit  for the purchase of his Prius because he got caught up in the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Coming next: Information about how to apply for lower PG&E rates in California and to bribe your employer to install a charging station

  1. madhaus permalink

    The Blink charger does not need a WiFi connection, it needs an Internet connection. That can be WiFi or Ethernet cabled. If you can run cable to your charger I suggest you do so. A number of people had trouble with the home Blink units because of the WiFi, although that problem may have been fixed with a software upgrade.

    The Ecotality project not only provided the Blink charger, it also provides a $1,200 credit toward installation. However, many houses on the Peninsula and South Bay are older and require an electrical panel upgrade to handle the additional circuits. We had to upgrade our panel to 200A so we expected it to be expensive. The $1,200 credit helped.

    Are you sure Chevy Volts don’t qualify for the free chargers? There are a number of different programs out there, and one of them uses a different charger where Volts are eligible and Leafs are not. Leafs are eligible for them in other regions but not the Bay Area.

    • Thank you madhaus
      This is good advice. My husband is meeting Thursday with someone about the installation of the home chargers. They are coming out to the house. We hope to have more information then. I will be blogging about it. Thanks for reading!

  2. Yaya permalink

    At least your sales guy was more honest to you. Ours @ same dealer told us the $7500 is excluded from the mark-down! We were very disappointed @ him after we found out a week or two later. Been telling friends we can apply for federal + state incentives @ total $10k. Oh, and the finance manager tried to sell you the prepaid maintenance for $675? He did. We bought it and was told by MNL fellow to get it refunded. Still waiting for the check. Based on this blogger:!/2012/12/nineteen-months-in-our-nissan-leaf.html maintenance cost is very minimal. We hope the true total-cost-to-own stays low during the 3-yr lease.

  3. Yaya permalink

    Got our CA rebate check today (2/15/2013)! Leased on 12/27/2012 and supporting documents were received by Sustainable Energy on 1/15/2013.

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