RI OER Suspends Electric Vehicle Rebate Program

Aug 1, 2017

The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources has suspended a year-old program that provided cash incentives for locals who bought electric cars. 

The program, Driving Rhode Island to Vehicle Electrification, also known as DRIVE, launched in January 2016 and offered up to $2,500 in rebates, depending on the car's battery capacity. 

Since its launch, DRIVE has provided $575,000 in incentives to more than 250 customers, and has increased electric car ownership in the Ocean State by 55 percent.

However, the OER said in a statement that funding for the program has run out.

The department said it "is actively working to identify other funding sources to support DRIVE and other clean transportation initiatives in the future."

"We remain hopeful the program may be restarted," the OER said.

The department said there are still incentive programs offered by other organizations, including the IRS and People’s Power and Light, a local environmental nonprofit. 

Previously, DRIVE received $100,000 in funding from the state Attorney Generals' Office from American Electric Power settlement funds;  $200,000 came from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's administration funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; and the remainder came from federal Stripper Well Petroleum Violation Escrow funds, which were one-time allocations to the state. 

None of the funding came from local tax dollars.