A group of electric utilities, car dealerships and government officials in Vermont are pushing incentives aimed at making electric vehicles more affordable.
On Tuesday, several utilities and Burlington-area car dealerships announced new, increased or extended rebates and discounts for electric cars. Some of the incentives are intended for low- and moderate-income residents.
"There's a real danger in the environmental movement kind of being something... that is elitist, that people only benefit from if they have the means to put solar cells on their homes, if they have the means to buy fancy cars," said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, speaking at the press conference Tuesday.
The Burlington Electric Department is offering an $1,800 rebate on electric cars for residents that can certify they are low or moderate income. The city defines "low income" for a household of four as total earnings under $65,900 per year.
Patricia Richards, the general manager of Washington Electric Cooperative, said getting more electric vehicles on the road is part of a fight against climate change.
"The transportation sector, cars and how we get around is a significant contributor to our air emissions," Richards said. "So this is a fundamentally big step toward defeating climate change."
Earlier this year, a South Burlington Nissan dealership offered a $10,000 rebate on the Nissan Leaf, the company's electric vehicle.
The dealership's owner, Robert Miller, said about 150 Nissan Leafs were sold from June through September, and it's had trouble keeping up with demand. Miller said the rebate program will continue through the end of the year if the dealership can find enough vehicles to sell.