California Denies Owner’s EV Rebate Claim for Early Submission

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California has seen a surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, leading to high demand for various rebates offered at state and local levels. However, this popularity often exhausts program funds, leaving potential applicants disappointed.

Occasionally, this demand results in rejections, even for those who followed all protocols, as highlighted by the experience of one EV owner in the Bay Area.

Jonathan Seminoff, as reported by San Francisco’s ABC 7, encountered challenges when applying for a $7,500 rebate through California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for his Tesla Model 3 purchase. Confident in his eligibility, Seminoff completed all necessary steps, including submitting required paperwork to the Clean Air Vehicle Program.

Unlike federal rebates, California’s program allows buyers to apply for rebates after purchasing their EVs. Seminoff did just that in the summer of 2023, promptly submitting his application after buying the Model 3.

However, while Seminoff awaited a response, state officials warned of dwindling funds due to high demand. Despite diligently submitting all documents, his application was canceled due to a technicality: it was dated a day before his actual purchase, attributed to Tesla processing paperwork after midnight.

Despite months of waiting, Seminoff received an email in January stating his application had been canceled due to the premature submission. The program, inundated with applications, struggled to promptly notify applicants.

Seminoff’s case is emblematic of many others caught in the program’s bureaucratic complexities. While awaiting a resolution, the program ceased last fall to prioritize low-income EV buyers, leaving applicants like Seminoff without recourse.

State Senator Bill Dodd criticized the situation, labeling it “government gone awry,” and emphasized the need for better preparation to handle the surge in demand.

The incident underscores the challenges faced by both applicants and administrators in managing the burgeoning demand for EV rebates. Despite the setback, Seminoff’s experience highlights the importance of streamlining application processes and ensuring timely communication to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Also read: Expansion Approval Granted for Waymo’s Robotaxi Service in California


By Jayson O'Neil

Jayson is a car-o-holic, and you will often find him writing about cars & bikes here at DaxStreet. You can reach out to him at [email protected]

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