With an eye towards a future in which all vehicles sold in Massachusetts are zero-emissions vehicles and more immediate environmental benefits, the Baker administration is expanding the eligibility for an electric vehicle rebate program to include medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
Vehicles roughly weighing 8,500 pounds and up — think large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, and long-haul delivery trucks — will now be eligible for a state financial incentive through the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) program.
The expansion is made possible by a December 2019 allocation from the Legislature, $10 million of which will go toward the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle incentives.
"There is an incredible amount of interest in this specific sector, delivery trucks, from some of the larger owners of these vehicles from Amazon to the Postal Service and what it can do to lower operating costs and provide cleaner air," Patrick Woodcock, commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources, said. "So we want to be at the vanguard of this and help companies that want to do their part to be part of the net-zero future."
Under the MOR-EV program, consumers can be eligible for a rebate of $2,500 on the purchase of an all-electric vehicle or $1,500 for a plug-in hybrid with a range of at least 25 miles on a battery charge. Last year, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a commitment with 14 other states and the District of Columbia to accelerate the market for electric trucks, and agreed to a goal for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles of at least 30 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050.
Zero-emission vehicles are a major part of the Baker administration's greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. Meeting the administration's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 will "require that about 1 million of the 5.5 million [passenger vehicles] projected to be registered in the Commonwealth in 2030 be" zero-emission vehicles, the administration said in its 2050 decarbonization plan, which also calls for a requirement that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in Massachusetts be zero-emission vehicles starting in 2035.
Since the MOR-EV program started in 2014, Massachusetts state government has given out about $37.7 million in rebates for the purchase of 18,487 vehicles, according to the program's website. The state estimates that the vehicles purchased through the program since 2014 have cumulatively offset more than 46,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.