California has several state programs, including the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) and the Clean Cars for All Program, to encourage drivers to buy EVs. However, EV conversion fans have been feeling left out of the party.
Now the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a trade group that represents the specialty automotive industry, has sponsored legislation that would create a rebate program for converting legacy vehicles to electric drive. Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D-Burbank) introduced Senate Bill 301, which is intended to “allow California to support small businesses and maintain its rich car culture, while assisting consumers that want to convert their vehicles to cleaner engines.”
The bill will offer eligible Californians a rebate of up to $2,000 to convert their gas-powered vehicle to an EV.
According to SEMA, a similar bill passed in the state’s Assembly last year with zero opposition.
Skeptics have pointed out that EV conversions are not a low-cost way to go electric—they’re mainly the domain of wealthy car buffs who want to prolong the life of a favorite vehicle—and they’re not likely to occur in enough numbers to make a dent in global emissions. Proponents counter that classic cars are a core part of American history, especially in California, and that conversion shops tend to be small, independently owned businesses that create sustainable, well-paying jobs.
“The aftermarket is a leader in innovation, and that includes in zero-emissions technologies,” said SEMA President and CEO Mike Spagnola. “SB 301 creates opportunities for our California-based small businesses, their employees, and consumers to build and have access to affordable zero-emissions vehicles.”