By on June 20, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, Image: GM

The State of Texas arouses visions of oil-rich tycoons with dysfunctional families, a fierce adherence to individual liberties, and vast quantities of trucks bearing the names High Country, Longhorn, Laramie, and King Ranch. While agriculture and industry play a major role in the state’s economy, not every vehicle in the Lone Star State’s fleet relies on gas or diesel.

With numerous major urban centres and a good economy, electric vehicles have made inroads in Texas over the past several years. Soon, a resurrected incentive could light a fire under EV sales. Well, except for one brand.

According to Green Car Reports, the Texas Legislature ended its session last month with a gift for electric car buyers. The state’s electric car rebate program, which ended in 2015 after running two years, would return. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the program into law last week.

This means for the next two years, buyers of an EV can shave off a further $2,500 from the price of the vehicle. With the state covering that sum, the $7,500 federal tax credit brings the savings per eligible EV to a cool 10 grand. Good news if you’ve been pining for a Chevrolet Bolt.

Bad news, however, for another electric car builder. You see, the program is only offered by franchised car dealers, meaning Tesla buyers needn’t apply. The state has barred direct sales of the company’s vehicles at the handful of galleries and stores Tesla operates in Texas, though buyers are to pick one up across the state line after ordering it from their home.

The program is handled by the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, itself run by the state’s Commission on Environmental Quality. Buyers can expect rebates to begin flowing probably in September.

With the end of summer comes the beginning of Tesla Model 3 production, the company’s first lower-priced electric car. By August at the latest, expect Chevy’s similarly priced Bolt to reach dealerships in Texas. It will be interesting to see whether an extra $2,500 off, coupled with less buying hassle, sweetens the sales pot for General Motors’ little EV in the Lone Star State.

[Image: General Motors]

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34 Comments on “Buying an Electric Vehicle Just Got Cheaper (Again) in Texas...”


  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I see a lot of Bolts on the road around here; it’s not a bad looking car.

    If I weren’t such a snob, I’d consider buying one.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Basically a taxpayer gift to GM since the Bolt is the only eligible EV that has sufficient range to be useful in the big spaces of Texas.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I think you’re stereotyping.
      I’d bet there are a lot of folks in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antone, etc that live an urban lifestyle and would do fine with a limited range ev.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Highway speeds can affect the capability of an EV. I survive just fine in a 100-mile range EV in the Boston area with frequent 100+ mile round trips. That’s in part because of the god-awful traffic speeds. I think my average speed going into Boston this morning according to the car computer was 17.1 miles per hour.I managed 5.1 miles per kWh with the heat pump cranking away which would have given me 150 miles range – if I could have tolerated going 150 miles in that kind of traffic (although 5.1 m/kWh is doable at 40 mph).

        I could see commuters in the big cities getting by with a limited range EV. But for intercity travel, it wouldn’t work well with Texas’ higher speed limits and long distances.

        Anyway, the Bolt is the best lower-cost EV at the moment. Until the Model 3 is readily available, I wouldn’t look at anything else right now. Once the 2018 Leaf 200-mile range version is ready(the initial 2018’s will be less than 200), it might be worth a look.

    • 0 avatar
      red5

      We just bought a used Fiat 500e while living in the northern burbs. It’s 85 mile range has been plenty to take us around town, to work, and into Dallas.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      It’s a gift to car dealers. As well as to corruption in general.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        From a totally cynical point of view, maybe, but if it was a “gift” to Tesla, I can imagine no complaints from the anti-GM crowd.

        Its a boon to EV advocates, even if it happens to benefit a brand and company they despise. So, for that reason, admitting it as such is clearly not easy for them.

        Its also a benefit to the economy. Maybe the buyers were going to wait on an EV purchase until it became more affordable, and they now have an opportunity to make it work. And with the choice of a car that can better fit their lives and reduce range anxiety while being among the most affordable. Hard to argue with that.

        Unless you hate GM (or EVs) above all else.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          It’s only possibly a benefit to “the economy” if the outlay comes directly out of other government programs that are even less useful. And even in that fairy tale scenario, it’s dubious whether any program that arises directly from politicians taking bribes from one group(car dealers) to shift activity their way, is sum net “beneficial.” If it results in higher government total spend, it most certainly a negative for any even remotely realistic conception of “the economy.”

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      GM loses money on every Bolt it sells. How is this a gift in that respect?

      It might establish them as a go-to brand in the future for people who end up with a Bolt and like it (BLIND BRAND LOYALTY since its not a Toyota), but this incentive will not in anyway make up for the losses they enjoy with every Bolt that rolls. If anything, it’ll increase the losses overall.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I can imagine a Silverado Bolt edition, with the little blob loaded in the back.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      On the way in this morning I heard Silverado being advertised with ten different special editions. Ten.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’m still irritated by everything being “SILVERADO” – give me Cheyenne, Scottsdale, and then Silverado.

        Personally I’ll take a Scottsdale, nicer bench seat but still the rubber floor covering.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Not one called Silverado Scottsdale edition or Silverado Cheyenne edition. But we’ve got a Custom Sport edition for you. What the hell is that even?

          http://www.chevrolet.com/truck-life/silverado/special-editions

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Custom Sport – maybe they’d like to check the history of “Custom” within the Ford family?

            It was generally the “cheap ba$tard” special.

          • 0 avatar

            It eventually became the base model, but didn’t start out that way.

            In the early 60s, Custom Cab was a deluxe trim and option package for, you guessed it, the cab.

            Later (next body style I believe) came a Custom trim line, some upgrades with it. Then came the SportCustom, a very nice truck.

            Look at the badge on the bedside.

            https://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/cto/6179678619.html

            That one is an F-250 4×4, referred to (unofficially) as a High Boy. It had a standard lift.

            Yes, special editions of trucks are SO new.

            The Custom trim also evolved on the Ford car line starting around the same time. Still happens, SE used to be the tip top trim. Now its just above rental car status (which my brother is perfectly fine with lol).

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        And they’ll sell, what, ten of each?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “You see, the program is only offered by franchised car dealers, meaning Tesla buyers needn’t apply.”

    It’s hard for me to believe a legislature is allowed to pass discriminatory laws like this. In another paradigm, it’s like the Bad Old Days of segregated water fountains and restaurants.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’d be up for a Bolt on my daily 40 mile Houston commute. It’s the side trips to Austin, Dallas and San Antonio that would kill me.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I do like the Bolt. Its the one to have. I’d also take a Colorado Crew cab diesel 4×4 to do my own carbon off-setting.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I’d buy an electric car if it could handle 10″ of snow on the highway – with the odd 2′ shelf looming out of the darkness at speed. They can’t, though, so I’ll stick with my F-150 in the Winter.

  • avatar

    The Bolt is the slowest selling vehicle in GM’s North American lineup. GM sucks…

    What a disgrace.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Gee, an anti-GM bigot?

      How surprising. Guess you’re still made about that lemon of a Citation you bought in 1981.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      A niche vehicle sells in low numbers, however is doing incredibly well in its niche, yet its an example of GM’s awfulness? LMAO

      Bitter, party of one, your table is ready (right by the bathroom, ice machine and bussing table in the smoking section).

  • avatar
    laurahall

    Wow, I want some cash incentives like that in the UK – we don’t get anything as far as I’m aware! Interesting to see what effect this has in Texas

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Vast quantities of Silverado High Country trucks around Texas? Nope, I don’t see ’em. Plenty of King Ranch Fords, but those are being overtaken by the Platinum trim level trucks (and some Limiteds). And yes, some Laramies and Longhorn Laramies, and the occasional 1794 Edition Tundra (the 1794 comes from the founding year of the ranch that included land where the TMMTX plant sits today, outside of San Antonio).

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I saw quite a few Texas Edition GM trucks. The guy I been talking to for almost a year now wants one bad, black of course, not sure if they’re in any other color since that’s all I can recall seeing.

      Sigh. But, he settled for a
      Late-00s Impala from a BHPH (I advised him not to, but they got him fooled and I didn’t want to argue).

      I didn’t want him to finance a expensive truck instead, just let me find him a nice older K1500 or later (full-size) Blazer or Tahoe.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Teslas are high-end cars, and I don’t think the lack of the $2500 rebate will impact their sales. I see plenty of them here in TX, even a few P85Ds, and I’ve seen a few examples of the Model X (I think the Falcon wing doors are ridiculous).

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Agreed. They aren’t budget shoppers, yet.

      When the Beetlemania over the model 3 dies down and people figure out it doesn’t spread magic pixie dust wherever it goes, that may change.

      Or, it’ll replace a 2 year old Accord EX-L in a 3-car upper class family. Its the “cheap” car.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      By the way. I mistakenly compared its bodystyle to the Bolt in another article, at the time I thought it was a hatch, I have since read it will be a sedan. Maybe if they had a real prototype to examine at a press event at least, my memory would be more clear.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Massachusetts have a similar rebate on most EV models.

    The Volt qualifies for $2,500 MOR-EV (MA) rebate along with the typical Fed $7,500 tax credit. Volts also sell for $8-9k off sticker. My wife’s Volt essentially starts off $35k MSRP ends up being around $16k after all applicable rebates and tax credits.

    https://mor-ev.org/eligible-vehicles

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Love that house! Can we get a quick tour? And move that ugly car out the shot next time?

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