- What is the current status of the program?
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.
- How can the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program help me?
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.
- How are we different from other programs?
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, which are awarded after a qualifying clean vehicle purchase.
- How long does the application process take?
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.
- What do I need to do before applying to the CVA Program?
- Where does the money come from?
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
- How much can I get towards a new or used hybrid or electric vehicle?
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.
- Do I need to repay the grant?
Grants do not need to be repaid if all program criteria is met.
- Will my grant application or Approval Letter expire?
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.
- I’ve been approved, now how do I get my grant?
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 Station Grants
- I have questions about the charging station grant, who should I contact?
- How can I get a charging station grant?
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 station 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 station grants here.
- Why should I wait 30 days after purchasing a vehicle to contact GRID Alternatives?
GRID Alternatives must verify that you have received a clean vehicle grant before the team is able to help you get a charging station 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.
Eligible Clean Vehicles
- What vehicles are eligible for a grant?
New and used hybrid, plug-in hyrbid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) are eligible for purchase or lease with grant funds. Used vehicles must be 8 years old or new with 75,000 miles or less to be eligible for a clean vehicle grant. If the vehicle has been recalled or does not have a clean title, it is not eligible.
- What are the benefits of driving hybrid or electric vehicles?
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. You could also install a Level 2 charging station in your home or use public charging stations for faster charging.
- Do you offer auto loans?
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. The lower your credit score, the more you could save by choosing Beneficial State Bank’s 8% interest rate loan. You can also get financing from a lender of your choice, but it must have a 12% interest rate or below.
- What if I don’t qualify for an 8% loan from Beneficial State Bank or a 12% interest rate from another lender?
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.
- What would my monthly payment be?
Monthly payments vary based on the size of your 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.
- Can I use my clean vehicle grant at any dealership?
No, we do have some restrictions because we strive to only work with dealers that have proven to treat consumers fairly. Our network of approved dealerships includes hundreds of dealerships across California, see our list of network dealerships here.
- What do I need to bring to the dealership?
Bring your Approval Packet and your loan pre-approval letter (if you plan to get an auto loan). It also helps to have a clear idea of your budget and what type of car you want to buy when you go to purchase a new or used vehicle.
- Can I use a clean vehicle grant to lease a vehicle?
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.
- Can I stack a Clean Vehicle Assistance Program grant with a grant or rebate from another program?
A Clean Vehicle Assistance Program grant can be stacked with the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). To stack these funds, an individual must first redeem a CVA Program grant and then redeem a CVRP rebate second, following the process and requirements of each distinct program. A CVA Program grant cannot be stacked with any Clean Cars 4 All Program, including Replace Your Ride (South Coast), Drive Clean in the San Joaquin (Central Valley), or Clean Cars for All (Bay Area). Other programs may be able to stack with the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program grant, such as the Federal Income Tax Credit. You can explore a full list of clean vehicle incentives available in California here.