Ready to Roll

Ali Ahmad, sales associate with Jim Bone Nissan, waits to talk to customers about the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle. Jim Bone Nissan is one of two dealerships partnering with Sonoma Clean Power to provide EVs at discounted rates to the electricity company's customers.

Energy provider offers monetary discounts for new EV cars

In the market for a new car?

If you’re a Sonoma Clean Power customer, you’re in luck. The choice aggregate alternative energy provider is offering its customers a new program to help further the county’s reliance on clean, local energy in lieu of fossil fuels. The program is called Drive EverGreen: with monetary discounts and incentives, Sonoma Clean Power customers can purchase or lease a new electric vehicle for $10,000 off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

“This is our effort to make a shift from driving on oil to driving on clean, local energy,” said Geof Syphers, president of Sonoma Clean Power.

Syphers said the company has “negotiated pretty impressive incentives” with two Santa Rosa car dealerships:  Jim Bone Nissan and Hansel BMW.

“We went to many dealerships in the area and asked for their best discount,” Syphers said.

The dealerships are offering Sonoma Clean Power customers a 2016 Nissan LEAF or 2017 BMW i3 at a significant savings through Jan. 5, 2017.

Those interested in a Nissan LEAF automatically receive a $10,000 manufacturer purchase credit. The BMW i3 offers an $8,500 manufacturer purchase credit and an additional $2,000 dealer purchase credit for SCP customers.

Additionally, Sonoma Clean Power customers who are enrolled in California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) or Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs are eligible for an extra $2,500 each car.

Post-purchase tax credits are also available for those who purchase electric vehicles. California offers a $2,500 rebate, plus an extra $2,000 bonus rebate for low-moderate income residents. Federal tax credits vary, but can provide a rebate of up to $7,500.  Lastly, Northern Sonoma County’s 3-2-1- Go Green program offers rebates between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the family’s income.

“You could get a new electric vehicle for under $10,000 after all the tax credits,” Syphers said.

Leasing options are also available. Base incentives offered by Sonoma Clean Power are the same for each vehicle.

The program is only offered to Sonoma Clean Power customers, which encompasses roughly 88 percent of the county.

For all Sonoma County residents, Sonoma Clean Power is also offering installation of a home charging unit at no cost, Syphers said.

“The hardware for the charger is free,” he said.

With this program, customers are required to pay for shipping, handling and installation costs for the at-home charger. Those who take advantage of this program will be able to participate in SCP CleanCharge. With CleanCharge, the charger’s software allows the charger to adjust in response to signals in order to help avoid using as much power when California’s electric grid is particularly dirty or expensive.

“We can override the equipment to avoid peak-hours use,” Syphers said.

Individuals can also opt out of this particular program, he added.

Syphers estimated with an at-home charger using EverGreen energy, individuals who take advantage of the Drive EverGreen program will spend roughly $15 to $20 a month for completely renewable energy.

“Our goal is to shift the fuel folks use for transportation from fossil fuel to locally produced clean electricity, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening the local economy,” said Patrick Slayter, Sonoma Clean Power board president.

Unfortunately, neither programs are evergreen; customers have until Jan. 5 to take advantage of the incentives, which are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. According to Syphers, Sonoma Clean Power has budgeted $1.5 million for the Drive EverGreen program. As of Nov. 11, Sonoma Clean Power had received 205 applications. Roughly 44 leasing applications are either pending or approved, with eight purchase applications also slated as pending or approved.


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