Increasing Cost-Effectiveness in EV Consumer Rebate Programs


By Center for Sustainable Energy

December 14, 2018

Co-authored by Brett Williams

Last month, CSE Senior Principal Transportation Advisor Brett Williams presented at the 31st International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition (EVS 31) in Kobe, Japan. The World Electric Vehicle Association and the Electric Drive Transportation Association co-host the annual conference for world leaders in the electric vehicle (EV) industry. This year’s conference featured many of the most influential organizations in the electric vehicle industry, including automakers, researchers and government officials.

As part of EVS 31, Williams sparked conversation around the cost-effective use of public funding to support the expansion of electric vehicle markets. Through his presentation “Targeting EV Rebates and Outreach to ‘Rebate-Essential’ Consumers,” Williams highlighted research he and Research Analyst John Anderson conducted to characterize an important target market segment within the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).

Rebate-essential consumers are the program recipients who would not have purchased an EV without the CVRP incentive. Statistical models based upon thousands of survey respondents revealed that rebate-essential consumers are more likely to be

  • Financially minded and practical: They buy relatively lower priced vehicles and place importance on saving money on fuel costs more than the environmental concerns.
  • Face contextual constraints: They have limited income, are younger and perhaps have lower cultural exposure to EVs.
  • Have challenging information environments: They have difficulty finding information online and spend greater time doing research.

Better understanding the consumers most heavily influenced by vehicle rebates will help policymakers and clean vehicle advocates target their efforts more effectively.

Download the presentation Cost-Effectively Targeting EV Outreach and Incentives to "Rebate Essential" Consumers.

Visit the CVRP website for more research and reports.