California officials have plowed more than half a billion taxpayer dollars into various campaigns designed to help citizens afford electric vehicles while others must wrestle with the state’s gas prices.
California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project has doled out rebates for over 235,000 vehicles at a cost of nearly $525 million since the program was launch in 2010, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) noted in a June 15 workshop.
Almost 7,500 of those rebates went to low-income people at a cost of nearly $30 million. California provided one community-based organization with a $900,000 grant to a project in San Francisco Bay that helped more than 40 low-income participants buy electric vehicles at low-interest rates.
CARB suggested the money was well spent and helped California become top dog among all other states in electric vehicle deployment.
“The State’s $500 million investment in consumer rebates for ZEV passenger vehicles, for example, has resulted in California leading the nation in ZEV deployment by a considerable margin even compared to the other states that have opted into our ZEV regulation,” CARB noted in the workshop.
CARB’s note comes as reports show Los Angeles and other California cities wasted several million dollars on a fleet of buses that frequently broke down.
Los Angeles began purchasing buses in 2008 from a Chinese battery manufacturer called BYD Ltd., which promised to create thousands of new green energy jobs. The promise became an expensive flop, according to a June 21 report published in the Los Angeles Times. The fleet of buses began having troubles almost immediately.
They stalled on hills, required frequent service calls, and had unpredictable driving ranges below advertised distances. In fact, the first five buses BYD sent to LA Metro, which manages the city’s public transportation, were pulled off the road after less than five months of service.
Metro staff called them “unsuitable,” poorly made and unreliable for over 100 miles, internal city emails show. The transit agency awarded BYD tens of millions of dollars more in public contracts despite concerns the buses were becoming a headache and perhaps not worth the expense.
Internal Metro reports show the buses needed “extensive campaign of retrofits, modifications and upgrades to correct irregularities.” Problems only metastasized, internal metro logs show. (RELATED: Anti-Trump LA Mayor Asks Hollywood Pals For Help Out With Potential White House Bid)
Meanwhile, California’s gas prices continue to spike. The average price of a gallon of fuel in the U.S.is $2.85 and rising. Yet the situation is worse for commuters in the Golden State, where the price is much higher and continues to move toward $4. The average price of regular in California is $3.65 a gallon.
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