- What is the current status of the program?
The Clean Vehicle Assistance Program is now closed.
Please remember, it is our policy to only provide grants to individuals who have received an Approval Packet before they purchase their vehicle. To learn more, visit our announcements page.
- How can the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program help me?
Our program helps income-qualified California residents get a new or used plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, 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. Our friends at the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program offers rebates to new eligible clean vehicles, which are awarded after a qualifying clean vehicle purchase.
- How long does the application process take?
It can take up to 10 business days or longer 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.
If we are missing any important information, we will contact you via the email address you provided on your application. Check your inbox, spam, and junk mail for incoming CVA Program emails and respond at your earliest convenience to avoid delays and/or reaching fund depletion.
- 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 $7,000 for plug-in hybrid cars and $7,500 for fuel cell and electric 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, your expiration date will be stated o your approval letter.
- 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.
- How can I get a charging 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 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.
- I have questions about the charging grant, who should I contact?
- Why should I wait 30 days after purchasing a vehicle for GRID Alternatives to contact me?
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 30 days 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.
- What do you accept as proof of income?
Most participants provide us with a complete 1040 federal tax return or tax transcript. If you did not file taxes, we accept three months of paystubs from all your employers along with all your household members income documentation. If you are self-employed, you must provide 6 months of invoices along with 6 months of bank statements along with all your household members income.
To view a list of accepted income verification documents please review our Implementation Manual.
- Do you need the entire 1040 federal tax return?
Yes, we prefer to obtain the entire 1040 federal tax return to avoid missing any important information which may cause delays. However, if you prefer to provide what we need, then what you’ll need to provide us with is the first two pages of the 1040 along with the schedule 1 (if applicable) and all schedule C forms (if applicable).
- What tax year do you accept?
We accept the most recent year federal tax return or tax transcripts on or before April 15. After April 15, we will only accept the most recent federal tax returns or tax transcripts. If the IRS tax filing deadline is extended, this policy may be adjusted to align with the tax filing deadline.
- Why is the deadline for the newly filed taxes October 16th and not April 15th, as previous years?
The IRS announced a tax relief for victims of severe winter storms, flooding, and mudslides in California. This includes 43 out of the 58 counties in California and provides affected taxpayers until October 16th, 2023, to file most tax returns. To learn more, click here.
- Where can I get my 1040 federal tax return or tax transcript? Who helped file your taxes? If you have a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), reach out to them for a copy of your federal tax return. Or you might have filed with TurboTax, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, whichever company you filed with, they should have a copy of your federal tax return. If you are unable to locate your taxes, you may also reach the IRS for a tax transcript and it is free! You will be required to first create an account, answer security questions, and you’ll be able to log in and request previous years tax transcripts. Click here to learn how.
- Who is considered my household member?
Household size and its members is defined by the CVA Program as the claimant, spouse, and/or dependent(s) listed by name and SSN on the applicant’s 1040 federal tax return or the 1040 federal tax return they are listed on. If you did not file taxes or are not listed on someone’s federal tax return, household members are defined as those individuals who would typically be considered a claimant, spouse, and/or dependent(s), or group of individuals who are living together at the same address as one economic unit. In multi-family units, exclude any occupant(s) living in the same unit that are not a part of your family and/or do not contribute economically.
- What is gross annual income?
Gross Annual Income as defined by the CVA Program, is considered earned and unearned income (passive income) which includes taxable and non-taxable income before taxes, deduction, expenses, or depreciation. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: wages, unemployment, workers’ compensation, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, veterans’ payments, survivor benefits, pension or retirement income, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, income from estates, trusts, alimony, child support, assistance from outside the household, and other miscellaneous sources. Note: Gross annual income is not adjusted gross income (AGI) or modified adjusted gross income (MAGI).
- What if I did not file taxes?
No problem, we can still work with you. We will need additional information. To view a list of acceptable income documents, please view our implementation manual.
- 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. 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 8% interest rate or below.
- What if I don’t qualify for an 8% loan from Beneficial State Bank or a 8% 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 amount of loan and the term length of your loan. For example, if you received a $7,500 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
- What vehicles are eligible for a grant?
New and used plug-in hybrid (PHEV), fuel cell, 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.
- What are the benefits of driving hybrid or electric vehicles?
Many clean vehicle owners appreciate that plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles cost less to own and contribute less to air pollution because of their high fuel economy. Plug-in 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.
- 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.
- 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. Visit our Youtube Channel to learn more about how to purchase a vehicle and what type of vehicle best fits your lifestyle.
- 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 clean vehicle incentive program?
The CVA Program clean vehicle grant can be combined, or “stacked,” with some other clean vehicle programs. The CVA Program can NOT be stacked with grants from Replace Your Ride, Clean Cars for All, Drive Clean in the San Joaquin, or the Driving Clean Assistance Program. The CVA Program can be stacked with the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, but restrictions apply and participants are responsible for meeting the requirements of each program independently. Other programs may be able to stack with the CVA Program grant, such as the Federal Income Tax Credit. You can explore a full list of clean vehicle incentives available in California here. Stacking between programs depends on the availability of funds for each program. Funds are not guaranteed.
- How can I stack a CVA Program grant with a Clean Vehicle Rebate Program rebate?
Step 1: Complete the CVA Program application online.
Step 2: Receive your CVA Program Approval Packet.
Step 3: Bring your Approval Packet to a CVA Program Network Dealership to redeem your grant by purchasing or leasing a NEW qualifying vehicle (used vehicles are not eligible for the CVRP rebate). NOTE: the vehicle you purchase or lease must meet the vehicle requirements of BOTH the CVA Program and CVRP. Learn about the CVA Program vehicle eligibility guidelines here. Click here to view eligible vehicles for the CVRP and learn about CVRP eligibility guidelines here.
Step 4: Apply for the CVRP rebate within 3 months of purchasing or leasing an eligible vehicle.
Step 5: Receive a CVRP approval email.
Step 6: Receive CVRP rebate check in the mail. This typically takes about 90 days from the approval email.
- How can I stack a CVA Program grant with a California Clean Fuel Reward?
The CVA Program grant can stack with California Clean Fuel Reward (CCFR) only if the purchase or lease of an eligible new Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) has been completed following both CVA Program and CCFR program rules.
Step 1: Complete the CVA Program application online.
Step 2: Receive your CVA Program Approval Packet.
Step 3: Bring your Approval Packet to a dealership approved to participate in BOTH the CVA Program and CCFR. Redeem your grant by purchasing or leasing a NEW qualifying vehicle (used vehicles are not eligible for CCFR). NOTE: the vehicle you purchase or lease must meet the vehicle requirements of BOTH the CVA Program and CCFR. Learn about the CVA Program vehicle eligibility guidelines here. Click here to view eligible vehicles for the CCFR and learn about CCFR eligibility guidelines here.
Step 4: Participating dealerships will include both the CVA Program grant and CCFR reward in the sales transaction when purchasing your new clean vehicle. During the process, you’ll be asked to sign the CCFR Program Customer Agreement.
Step 5: When making an EV purchase at an enrolled dealership in California from both programs, the dealership will simply include the CVA Program grant and the CCFR reward in the transaction at the point of sale. There is no need for the participant to do any paperwork after the sale to receive the reward.