This week, the state of Minnesota began a new rebate program for electric vehicle purchases.
Officials say a third of the funding set aside for the program is already claimed by the initial wave of applicants. Last year, the Legislature approved nearly $14 million for the rebates. Those owning or leasing a new EV can receive up to $2,500, or up to $600 for used models.
Pete Wyckoff, assistant commissioner for federal and state energy initiatives for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, said the brisk demand in the first couple of days will hopefully spur more registrations around the state. He feels the Minnesota incentive has a strong selling point.
“This is a rebate that will be issued directly by the Department of Commerce, so it’s not about your taxes,” Wyckoff explained.
There is also a federal inventive, which works as a tax credit. The department said EV buyers can use both for the same purchase.
State data from last year show Minnesota had nearly 34,000 electric vehicle registrations. Wyckoff acknowledged they are still trying to overcome some consumer reluctance, including the effects of a colder climate. However, he added technology continues to evolve, which could improve performance.
For those on the fence about jumping into the EV movement, Wyckoff noted the program does offer flexibility.
“Partial electric vehicles, or plug-in hybrids, are something that is eligible for these rebates,” Wyckoff emphasized. “It doesn’t have to be a fully electric car.”
The department noted there are some key eligibility factors. Qualifying vehicles must have a purchase or lease date on or after May 25 of 2023. For new models, the base price, excluding taxes and fees, has to be $55,000 or less. Those considered will not see the rebate check right away because the applications have to be reviewed to ensure the car meets the criteria.
Mike Moen writes for the Minnesota News Connection.