Drive EV tour: Launches Feb. 16 in 7 California metro areas

Discover and Drive EV tour: Launches Feb. 16 in 7 California metro areas

By Mark Maynard

lectrify America is bringing electric-car technology to consumers in seven key California metro areas, including San Diego. The free events, which begin Feb. 16, are public-awareness opportunities to experience and learn more about electric vehicles by the newly founded subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America.
Electrify America was created as part of the German auto maker’s court settlement involving 2.0-liter TDI diesel vehicles in the U.S. The organization, based in Reston, Va., will manage a $2 billion investment program over 10 years to support the increased use of zero emissions vehicle technology in the United States.
The Discover and Drive EV Tour is part of Electrify America’s initial $200 million investment in California. The investments will promote the development, construction and maintenance of electric-vehicle infrastructure, including charging stations.
At the events, participants will be able to drive five electric cars on sale today and the battery-electric and hydrogen-fuel-cell versions of the Honda Clarity sedan. Pre-owned EVs also will be on display. New model-year vehicles for testing include the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Bolt, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf.
Participants will be able to learn about electric vehicles and their cost of operation, including available incentives and the charging infrastructure, residential and public.
Electrify America will also show its 350kW DC fast charger, which is capable of adding up to 20 miles of range per minute of charging; the company says it is the fastest charging technology available today.
Four of the events will be held in disadvantaged or low-income communities and five more such locations will be added soon. The events are free but registration is required; a valid driver’s license is required for vehicle testing.
Discover and Drive events include:
Los Angeles, Feb. 16-18: Del Amo Fashion Center, 3525 W. Carson Street, Torrance, 90503
Orange County, Feb. 20-22: Shops at Mission Viejo, 555 The Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo, 92691
San Diego, Feb. 23-25: Otay Ranch Town Center, 2015 Birch Road, Chula Vista, 91915
Fresno, March 3-5: Fresno Fashion Fair, 645 E. Shaw Avenue, Fresno, 93710
Sacramento, March 9-11: Arden Fair Mall, 1689 Arden Way, Sacramento, 95815
San Francisco: March 13-15: Stonestown Galleria, 3251 20th Ave., San Francisco, 94132
San Jose, March 16-18: The Great Mall, 447 Great Mall Drive, Milpitas, 95035
A new pilot program in San Diego County makes it easier and faster for buyers of a new electric vehicle to claim their state rebate and apply it to the sale of their chosen EV at the dealership.
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project has just launched Rebate Now, a preapproved rebate program that provides a discount on the sale or lease of an eligible model. If successful in San Diego, the preapproved rebate program will be applied statewide.
San Diego’s diverse communities and car-buying options make it an ideal test ground for this new approach to issuing incentives, according to the center. The county is the fifth largest EV market in California with 17,100 rebate awards since 2010, according to officials at the San Diego-based Center for Sustainable Energy. Leading the rebate count is Los Angeles (58,600), Santa Clara (32,500), Orange (26,600) and Alameda (18,200). The center is the administrator of the state’s rebate program for the California Air Resources Board.
The air resources board anticipates the reduced upfront costs of Rebate Now will encourage electric vehicle, particularly among lower-income consumers.
“Car shoppers in San Diego can now get preapproved before they purchase or lease an EV and then transfer the rebate amount directly to the dealership rather than applying for the rebate after the transaction,” Lawrence Goldenhersh, CSE president, said in a release. “In just a few simple steps, the car dealership can claim the transferred rebate and use it to lower the customer’s down payment.”
Rebates range from $900 for zero-emission motorcycles to between $1,500 and $5,000 for passenger cars. Rebates cover various models of zero-emission vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. An additional $2,000 is available for qualified lower-income residents.
Customers must apply for a preapproved rebate before they buy or lease their EV from a dealership. The application qualifies them for a rebate but does not require the buyer select a specific make or model before car shopping. After CVRP preapproves the application, they can visit a participating auto dealership and use their preapproved rebate to purchase or lease an eligible vehicle. It should only take a few minutes for the dealership sales staff to qualify the rebate application, Goldenhersh said in the release.
“This pilot study in San Diego provides the opportunity to evaluate consumer and dealership reactions to the preapproved rebate process as well as to test online systems and operations,” Goldenhersh said. “If we find this is a preferable means of distributing the rebates, it’s likely that CARB would launch a statewide CVRP preapproved rebate.”

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