State pushes electric car program by offering rebates

Program will result in consumer awareness and adoption of electric vehicles in the Northeast

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Department of Energy Resources has announced that the Mass Drive Clean initiative will continue to receive funding through the U.S. Department of Energy.

The program provides opportunities for consumers to drive and learn about electric cars at employer sponsored and public events. So far this year, there have been over 1,000 test drives.

Karen Leonard of Balise Toyota in West Springfield told 22News, after the 2007 surge in gas prices, they’ve seen an increase in customers requesting more information on electric cars; “So they’re demanding that the car brings them a better return on their investment. So manufacturers are pulling thru and coming with these new technologies, such as the electric motors and the new ones that can go longer.”

Not everyone’s convinced. “Not really. I’m kinda an old school, I like gas. Even though the price is high, you still gotta go with it,” said New Jersey native Jeremy Rodrigues.

The effort is a collaboration between the state and Plug In America to increase the use of electric, plug-in electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, known as Zero Emission Vehicles. DOE selected Plug in America and Clean Cities programs in Massachusetts, as well as in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont, to provide funding for continued public, workplace and fleet events over the next two years.

Massachusetts currently offers rebates to customers purchasing electric vehicles through the MOR-EV program, which offers rebates to customers of up to $2,500.

The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced $12-million in additional funding for MOR-EV, representing more than double the rebate funding over the lifetime of the program.