Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle Rebates and Infrastructure

Improved more than 1 percent from
2016 to 2017

How are we doing?

Electric vehicles (EVs) received a thumbs-up because the rate of EVs rebated through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) continued to rise in San Diego County from 10.7 to 11.4 EVs per 10,000 residents from 2016 to 2017. San Diego’s total number of rebated electric vehicles on the road increased from 43 to 55 per 10,000 residents, but remained below the state average of 58 per 10,000 residents. EV charging infrastructure is gaining traction at about one charging station per 10,000 residents in most San Diego areas. See more information.

The rate of electric vehicles rebated through the CVRP continued to rise in San Diego County from 10.7 to 11.4 per 10,000 people from 2016 to 2017. Increases were also recorded for many other California counties as the rate of electric vehicles rebated statewide increased from 11.2 to 12.2 per 10,000 people from 2016 to 2017.

Data Sources: California Department of Finance, E-4 Population Estimates, 2017; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Rebate Statistics, 2018

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New EVs rebated in 2017 in San Diego County will reduce GHGs by 113,339 metric tons in only one year, equivalent to powering over 12,000 homes for a year.

Why is it important?

  • Transportation is California's largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and produces smog and air pollution that disproportionally affects low-income and disadvantaged communities.
  • California cannot reach its GHG reduction goals without replacing gasoline cars with zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs).
  • In January 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order to set a new target of 5 million ZEVs by 2030.
  • California’s 2017 ZEV sales increased 29.1% over 2016, while U.S. sales grew by 28.8%.
  • Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that battery costs will decline enough by 2025 that ZEVs will reach price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles.
  • Interested in buying an electric vehicle? Californians can get a state rebate!

Within San Diego County, the City of Del Mar has the highest rate of both rebated electric vehicles and public charging sites per 10,000 residents, at 733 and 16, respectively. The rest of San Diego’s cities averaged less than 200 total rebated EVs per 10,000 residents and fewer than three charging station per 10,000 residents.

Data Sources: California Department of Finance, E-4 Population Estimates, 2017; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Rebate Statistics, 2018; U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center, 2018

San Diego’s total number of rebated electric vehicles per 10,000 people remained modest compared to Santa Clara, which boasts 175 rebated EVs per 10,000 residents, and Orange County at 88 rebated EVs. San Diego’s 55 rebated EVs per 10,000 people is below the state average of 58.


*2017 data is preliminary.
Data Sources: California Department of Finance, E-2 Population Estimates, 2018; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Rebate Statistics, 2018

  Idea for Change

Disadvantaged and low-income communities in the San Diego region are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, and would greatly benefit from zero-emission vehicles. The state’s car scrap and replace program, called the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP) Plus-Up, provides incentives for eligible consumers who scrap their old, high-polluting cars and purchase electric vehicles (both new and used), making EVs more accessible to these communities. The San Diego Air Pollution Control District is planning to bring the program to the region but should make sure to partner with community-based organizations to design the outreach and education plan and assist in program implementation. Community-based organizations are trusted sources of information and are experts in providing meaningful outreach that meets their communities’ multilingual and cultural needs. Bringing in these organizations early will help ensure the program’s success.

  Bright Spot

Rebate Now, a pilot initiative of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, provides San Diego County residents a preapproved rebate that makes it easier and faster to lease or purchase electric cars. Once rebate applications are approved, car shoppers can apply rebates up to $2,500 as a down payment on a battery-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. The program also includes an increased rebate of $2,000 for low-income car buyers who meet qualifications. In addition, San Diego Gas & Electric’s Champions for Clean Air EV Rebate provides a $1,000 point-of-sale vehicle rebate to teachers and first responders who reside and work in the SDG&E service territory.

  What are we measuring?

We measure electric vehicle adoption by tracking the number of EVs rebated by the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) per 10,000 people in San Diego and other urban counties annually. Though not all EV purchases are rebated, CVRP rebate data characterize a large portion of the EV market. Secondary measurements include the total number of rebated EVs and publicly accessible EV charging sites per 10,000 residents in San Diego County jurisdictions as well as in major urban counties. Greenhouse gas emission reductions are estimated using California Air Resources Board emission factors and mileage assumptions and are reported in metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Emission reductions from EVs are in comparison to emissions from 2017 model year gas cars. Emission equivalency derived from the Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. Learn more about the data.