ELECTRIC VEHICLE PROGRAM IN CONNECTICUT GETS INFUSION OF CASH
An incentive program launched last year to encourage more Connecticut residents to purchase electric vehicles is getting a new infusion of cash.
The Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) program is getting $1 million, Rob Klee, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said Thursday. Klee made his announcement regarding the new funding during a press conference held at Stevens Ford in Milford.
Stevens was honored as the Connecticut car dealership with the most sales and leases during the first year of the CHEAPR program.
“Now is the perfect time to think about the advantages offered by EVs,” Klee said in a statement. “One of the biggest advantages is the rebate we have offered up to $3,000 for those who purchase or lease an eligible vehicle under our program. We are now strengthening that program with the addition of $1 million in new funding that’s putting money right back in the pocket of car buyers.”
Without the new funding announced by Klee, the CHEAPR program was projected to run out of money by next month.
The CHEAPR program was launched in May 2015 using $1 million the state received as part of an agreement to allow Northeast Utilities to merge with Boston-based NSTAR and become what is now known as Eversource Energy.
A second influx of money from the state’s merger agreement with the utility was added to the incentive program. The latest $1 million investment in the program is also coming from money associated with the merger agreement.
Since its launch last year, the incentive program had issued or was scheduled to give just over $1.5 million for the purchase or lease of 626 new vehicles through the end of last month. Included in that total were 159 fully electric vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF as well as 467 plug-in vehicles that have range extending or hybrid capabilities such the Chevy Volt.
Even as Klee was announcing additional funding for the rebate program, he was also honoring Stevens Ford as the top performer in terms of selling or leasing electric vehicles. Since May 2015, the dealership has put 56 electric vehicles on Connecticut’s roads.
David Stevens, owner of Stevens Ford, said he was pleased to hear the state was providing additional funding to the rebate program.
“Stevens Ford, a third-generation dealership, is just one of the many dealerships around the state that continues to offer a wide variety of vehicles to their customers,” he said.
Richard Chevrolet in Cheshire has sold or leased 10 electric vehicles since the program started, according to officials at the Route 10 dealership. The 2017 Chevrolet Volt was on hand at an event Thursday afternoon where Cheshire officials were celebrating the town’s first charging station outside the local Big Y Supermarket.
Jill Silverman, assistant general manager at Richard Chevrolet, said it took the dealership about week to sell the latest two Volts it received from the manufacturer.
Rich Ogurick, chairman of Cheshire’s Energy Commission, said finding a place for the charging station, which has outlets for two cars, was a hard sell before Big Y Supermarket and Phillips Edison & Co., the new owner of the shopping plaza where the grocery store is located, stepped up.
“A lot of places we approached refused to up the parking spaces that we needed for this,” Ogurick said.
Eric Richter, vice president of Property Management for Philips Edison, said the company plans to install free EV charging stations at 50 of its centers in the next three years.
“We hope that our industry leadership in energy efficiency, alternative power sources, recycling and other initiatives will help us preserve and protect the environment,” Richter said in a statement.
Individuals who already have electric vehicles can recharge their cars at no costs for the next three years if they use the station outside the Big Y.
The incentive program is administered through the EVConnecticut program, which is a partnership between DEEP and the state Department of Transportation.
The vehicle rebates from the CHEAPR program operate on a sliding scale and are available not only to state residents but Connecticut municipalities, as well. The maximum rebate of $3,000 is only available for lease or purchases of electric vehicles with the greatest battery capacity, according to DEEP officials.
Rebates of $1,500 and $750 are available for electric vehicles that travel shorter distances on battery power. Fuel cell electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle also qualify for rebates.
Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.