SANTA CRUZ — Central Coast Community Energy customers in Santa Cruz County can now apply for an electric vehicle incentive program, launched by the agency Wednesday.
The Electrify Your Ride EV Incentive Program is offering $700,000 total in rebates to those in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Central Coast Community Energy, or 3CE, is one of 23 public agencies in the state that sources predominantly clean and renewable energy, such as solar and geothermal, rather than fossil-fuel sources.
“We strictly provide electric generation services, while PG&E continues to maintain their poles and wires, and continues to deliver energy to people’s homes through their infrastructure,” said Shelly Whitworth, senior energy media specialist with 3CE.
Residents might see 3CE as line item on their monthly electric bill. According to Whitworth the agency maintains approximately 100,000 accounts across the Santa Cruz area. Those who are 3CE customers, including local businesses, are eligible for a variety of new and used electric car rebates, below:
The electric car rebates are doubled for those who meet certain income-qualifications. Residential customers are eligible for one incentive per household, and commercial and agriculture business customers are eligible to receive up to five 3CE electric vehicle incentives
“The income qualification element of this…where someone can save up to $15,000 combining and stacking all the savings at once, it really opens the accessibility of clean vehicles,” Whitworth said.
That would include not only qualifying for a “battery electric” new car incentive with 3CE at $4,000 but also qualifying for various other state rebate programs such as the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program and the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.
While electric cars coming on to the market now are more affordable compared to their predecessors, and projected to become cheaper in the future, another part of the equation is electric vehicle infrastructure.
Central Coast Community Energy is also working with the state to implement $7 million in funding the construction of electric vehicle charging stations across the Central Coast, and in Santa Cruz.
Currently, less than 2% of cars on the road in the Central California Coast region are electric, according to a 3CE report. The agency hopes the incentive program, and more charging infrastructure coming down the pipeline, could amp that number up.
Gas-powered vehicles account for more than 40% of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Gavin Newsom has set an ambitious goal for the state: in just four years, he wants to see 5 million zero emission vehicles in California.