FAQ

Evolving Health and Economic Crisis Impacts on the CVA Program

General Information

  • The Clean Vehicle Assistance Program is currently accepting new applications. The program has reopened with updated program criteria. To learn more about program updates, click here.

  • Our program helps income-qualified California residents get a new or used hybrid or electric vehicle. We do this through a combination of grants and fair financing options. Our lending partner, Beneficial State Bank, offers 8% or lower interest rate auto loans for qualified participants.

  • We give grants, not rebates. Clean vehicle grants are awarded to individuals at the point of sale of a qualifying clean vehicle, not after the fact. If you have already purchased or leased a clean vehicle, we cannot give you a grant. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Program offers rebates to new eligible clean vehicles, which are awarded after a qualifying clean vehicle purchase.

  • It can take as little as three weeks or as long as three months to complete the application process. It depends on how long you take to complete the 5 steps of the application, how many applications we are processing when you submit your application, and how quickly we can verify your eligibility from the documentation you provide. On average, it takes people around six weeks to qualify for a clean vehicle grant. We process applications on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  • The Clean Vehicle Assistance Program is funded by California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Clean Vehicle Grants

  • The grant amount you can qualify for depends on your household’s gross annual income. The maximum grant amounts are currently $2,500 for hybrid cars and $5,000 for plug-in cars. You can learn more about what grant amounts you could potentially qualify for here

  • Grants do not need to be repaid if all program criteria is met.

  • Yes. You will have 60 days to complete a grant application. If you are approved for a grant, you will have 35 days to redeem the grant by purchasing a qualifying clean vehicle at one of our Network Dealerships.

  • You can take your Approval Letter to any of our approved Network Dealerships to redeem a grant to lower the cost of a new or used clean vehicle. The dealership should write the grant into your purchase contract as a Deferred Down Payment. The dealership will then send all required documents to the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program team and we will verify the purchase and all program requirements. Lastly, we will send the grant payment directly to the dealership if all program requirements are met.

Charging Grants

  • If you purchase a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) or a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) with a clean vehicle grant, you are eligible to receive a charging grant too. You can redeem this grant by contacting our partner, GRID Alternatives, but please wait 30 days after you purchase a vehicle with a grant. Learn more about the charging grants here

  • To learn more about the charging grant before you purchase a vehicle, please contact the CVA Program team at cleanvehicles@beneficialstate.org or 1-559-271-1957. If you have already purchased a vehicle, please contact the GRID Alternatives Electric Vehicle Team at evs@gridalternatives.org.

  • GRID Alternatives must verify that you have received a clean vehicle grant before the team is able to help you get a charging grant. It typically takes between 2-4 weeks to finalize a grant payment in our system and update this information for GRID Alternatives. If you call to begin the process before we’ve updated your file, the GRID Alternatives Electric Vehicle Team will not be able to help you begin the process.

Financing Options

  • Yes, we’ve partnered with a fair and transparent lending partner, Beneficial State Bank, to provide our program participants with a special offering. Qualified program participants may be eligible for an auto loan with an 8% or lower interest rate loan from Beneficial State Bank. You may qualify for an 8% rate even if you have a low credit score. If you have a low credit score, a low-interest rate loan may not be available to you at other lenders. Choosing Beneficial State Bank’s 8% interest rate loan could save you money if you qualify. You can also get financing from a lender of your choice, but it must have a 12% interest rate or below.

  • If you cannot secure a qualifying loan at this time, another option is to purchase a clean vehicle outright. If that is not an option and you are unable to secure a qualifying loan, unfortunately we cannot provide you with a Clean Vehicle Assistance Program grant at this time. We encourage you to contact your primary lender for credit resources that may help you improve your credit score.

  • Monthly payments vary based on the amount of loan and the term length of your loan. For example, if you received a $5,000 grant for an electric car and take out a $5,000 loan to be repaid over 4 years, you would only need to repay $5,000 and your monthly payment would be around $122 a month. Keep in mind, based on the vehicle you select and the amount financed your payment may be higher or lower. We encourage you to talk to Beneficial State Bank or your preferred lender for a more accurate monthly payment calculation designed for you. 

Eligible Clean Vehicles

  • New and used hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) are eligible for purchase or lease with grant funds. Used vehicles must be 8 years old or less 75,000 miles or less to be eligible for a clean vehicle grant. If the vehicle has an open recall or does not have a clean title, it is not eligible.

  • Many clean vehicle owners appreciate that hybrid and electric vehicles cost less to own and contribute less to air pollution because of their high fuel economy. Hybrid and electric vehicles are increasingly common and affordable and range in size from compact models to larger SUVs, so you will have many options to choose from when shopping for a clean vehicle that will fit your transportation needs and budget. If you choose a clean vehicle with an electric motor, charging can be as easy as plugging your vehicle into a 3-prong outlet at your home. Or you can get a free Level 2 charging station installed if you purchase a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) through the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program.

  • Monthly payments vary based on the amount of loan and the term length of your loan. For example, if you received a $5,000 grant for an electric car and took out a $5,000 loan to be repaid over 4 years, you would only need to repay $5,000 and your monthly payment would be around $122 a month. Keep in mind, based on the vehicle you select and the amount financed your payment may be higher or lower. We encourage you to talk to Beneficial State Bank or your preferred lender for a more accurate monthly payment calculation designed for you.

Dealership Network

Leases

  • Yes, however, we recommend doing extensive research before entering a lease agreement. We are unable to ensure fair leasing practices from the leasing companies, so it is your responsibility to negotiate a fair lease that will meet the program requirements. There are many resources on the internet to help you prepare for a lease, such as this video. Grant recipients are required to own or lease their clean vehicle for a minimum of 30 months. 

     

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