The number of rebates given to buyers of electric vehicles in Maine has skyrocketed in the last few years, according to Efficiency Maine, the agency responsible for lowering consumer energy costs and reducing greenhouse gases.

In September 2019, the agency gave 29 rebates. In September 2021, it gave out 149.

“Since March of 2021, we have been processing over 100 rebates each month, sometimes over 200, despite the inventory shortage (of cars),” said Amalia Siegel, Efficiency Maine program manager. “People are interested.”

The dollar value of the rebates has risen more than 700% for all-electric vehicles and more than 1,200% for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles over those two years.

The agency gave out a total of $267,000 in rebates for electric vehicles in 2019 and $1,956,000 in 2021; the agency gave out $58,000 in rebates for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2019 and $711,500 in 2021. And those figures are only through September 2021, with three months to go.

All of the rebate funds come from the federal settlement with Volkswagen.

The rebates are part of state government efforts to encourage residents to convert to all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The initial cost of electric vehicles is typically higher than gas-powered, though the long-term ownership cost is typically lower.

The federal government also offers a tax credit for purchasing an electric vehicle.

Efficiency Maine has a web site that shows which vehicles qualify for state rebates and federal tax credits. Typically all-electric vehicles fetch bigger incentives than plug-in hybrids. New vehicles must cost less than $50,000 to receive rebates.

For example, Efficiency Maine’s website shows that an all-electric Volkswagen ID4, with a range of 250 miles, lists for $39,995 (base price), and qualifies for an Efficiency Maine rebate of $2,000 and a federal tax credit of $7,500, which brings the final cost to $30,495 before taxes and fees.

A plug-in hybrid Prius Prime, with an electric range of 25 miles and base price of $28,220, receives a state rebate of $1,000 and a federal tax credit of $4,502.

For more information, go to https://www.efficiencymaine.com/ev/.

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