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R.I. rolling out electric vehicle rebate program

Under a new program, people living in Rhode Island who get a new or leased battery or fuel cell vehicle could get up to $2,500 in rebates.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island state officials are rolling out a $1.25 million program that would give people rebates if they bought fully electric or hybrid cars.

People would get up to $2,500, depending on the type of purchase, and an extra $2,000 if they meet income eligibility guidelines under the program being developed by the Office of Energy Resources.

“There’s really a need for us to do whatever we can, within the resources that we have, to try to support carbon reduction and greenhouse gas reduction in the transportation sector,” Nicholas Ucci, the commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, said in an interview.

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The program was unveiled Monday at a news conference at the Capital Good Fund, which has an EV charging station.

The money would come from Office of Energy Resources funds, rather than state general fund revenues. The office gets its funds from non-tax sources like the U.S. Department of Energy. The proposal does not need to go through the General Assembly, Ucci said.

The office, which reports to Gov. Daniel McKee, is planning to bring its proposal to the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council, Ucci said. There will also be a public comment period.

Under the proposal, which could change before it’s implemented, people who got a new or leased battery or fuel cell vehicle could get up to $2,500. People could get up to $1,500 for a new plug-in hybrid. For used battery or fuel cell vehicles, they’d get up to $1,500. And for used plug-in hybrids, they could get up to $750.

The state had a previous rebate program, but the money ran out. Ucci said it’s hard to say how long this one will last, but based on the previous program, the state believes it could support up to 600 electric vehicles.

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More than 4,500 electric vehicles were registered in Rhode Island as of December 2021, according to the Office of Energy Resources.

The program is expected to be up and running this summer.


Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.