In November, we wrote about efforts to replenish Massachusetts’ state rebate for electric vehicles, which was then stalled in the legislature. Late the following month, lawmakers reached agreement on a proposed Supplemental Budget that included an infusion of much-needed dollars to bring back Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV), the only direct incentive offered by the state to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Now MOR-EV will benefit from an infusion of at least $27 million dollars per year for the next two years!Reinstating MOR-EV is a huge win!
Emissions from transportation are the largest contributor to climate change in Massachusetts and the region. Vehicle electrification is a key strategy for tackling climate sector emissions, to combating climate change, and to speeding the transition to a low carbon future. Thus it is a top priority for our organization.
When it comes to combating sector emissions, Green Energy Consumers Alliance believes that investments in transit that help to get drivers off the road and move them reliably, cleanly, affordably, in other ways are essential. However, if one MUST drive, then we believe one should be able to drive electric.
Unfortunately, upfront cost is a primary barrier to adoption of electric vehicles. Consumer incentives, including rebates like MOR-EV, and group buying programs like Drive Green, help to defray the upfront costs of EVs. This in turn spurs adoption and encourages market transformation.
We know this to be true. Since 2014, MOR-EV has been the singular direct incentive offered by the Commonwealth to spur EV adoption. Prior to its suspension in September, it was enabling EV adoption (of the nearly 15,000 EVs registered in MA, 14,930 rebates had been reserved or issued since 2014) while also helping to nudge MA along to meet its ZEV goals (300,000 ZEVs registered by 2025).
More on MOR-EV
Between 2014 and 2019, MOR-EV was funded with a portion of the revenue generated by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auctions. However, these dollars were limited meaning that MOR-EV was always at risk of being terminated without a substantial infusion of additional money.
In December, Governor Baker signed the state’s supplemental budget for 2019 which included authorization to temporarily reallocate at least $27 million dollars per year in RGGI funding to keep this important rebate running in 2020 and 2021.
Effective January 1, 2020:
- Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with a final sale price under $50,000 are eligible for a $2,500 rebate;
- Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) with a final sale price under $50,000 and an electric range of 25+ miles are eligible for a $1,500 rebate; and
- Zero-emission motorcycles (ZEMs) are no longer eligible for a rebate.
As before, only Massachusetts residents qualify for the MOR-EV rebate, and leases must have a minimum term of 36 months to qualify.
How to get the rebate
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which administers the rebate, is in the process of reinstating the rebate application at mor-ev.org. According to their website, “the application webform will be live in the coming weeks”, but purchases or leases made on or after January 1, 2020, are still eligible. We will watch the site closely and update our Drive Green website once we know more!
One benefit of the latest iteration of MOR-EV is that the rebate amount has been increased. Another benefit is that the purchase price has been capped. It will be interesting to see how these changes together with at least $27 million per year, which is substantially more money than dedicated in previous years, will spur more rapid EV adoption and/or be leveraged to reach consumers beyond the typical “early adopters” of this important technology.
Of particular interest to our organization (and many of our friends, too) is exploring ways to increase access to EVs for low-to-moderate income drivers. For example, in states with some of the highest penetration of EV adoption – California, Oregon, Washington, New York – consumer purchase incentives are designed to specifically benefit such drivers.
We’ll be following implementation of the newly-reinstated MOR-EV program and will continue to work with fellow advocates and the Baker administration to ensure that these dollars help drive the transformation of our transportation sector.
In the meantime, we are celebrating replenishment of Massachusetts’ important and effective consumer EV rebate program!