New York

New York state to launch electric vehicle rebate

New York state will soon launch a rebate intended to make electric vehicles more price competitive with traditional cars.

Officials said Friday they'll launch the initiative by April 1. The rebate of up to $2,000 will be available for zero-emission and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. It's part of an effort to reduce automotive carbon emissions, the state's largest climate change contributor.

"We want to make electric vehicles a mainstream option," said state Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Westchester County Democrat who leads the Assembly energy committee. "They are becoming more affordable and we need to encourage them."

Environmentalists supported the rebate when it was approved by lawmakers in 2016 and have been eagerly awaiting the launch. Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, said he's disappointed it's taken Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration so long to act.

More than three-quarters of states already offer incentives intended to drive down the cost of electric vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"Consumers want to buy these vehicles," Iwanowicz said, adding that April 1 was the deadline for the state to launch the rebates. "It's just unfortunate the agency decided to slow walk it."

Officials at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are now putting the finishing touches on the rebate program and reaching out to car dealers to ensure they're aware of the program, according to agency spokeswoman Kate Muller.

She noted the state has already rolled out a rebate for municipalities buying electric vehicles for their government fleets.