(The Center Square) – A Texas taxpayer-funded electric vehicle rebate program gave a resident $2,500 for buying a rare hybrid Porsche that costs about $1 million.
The base price for the Porsche 918 Spyder, a limited production hypercar, was $845,000, but Motor Trend reported in 2020 that prices range between $1.1 million and $1.7 million. The street-legal plug-in hybrid, which goes from zero to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds, has a top speed of more than 200 mph. In all-electric mode, the car has a range of 12 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The resident got the rebate through the state’s Light-Duty Purchase or Lease Incentive Program. The program doesn’t have a cap on the price of vehicles that qualify for rebates and the most-popular selling electric vehicle models in the United States, which are made by Tesla, don’t qualify for the rebate program because Tesla doesn’t have dealerships.
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The rebate program handed out more than $14.3 million in taxpayer-funded rebates to people who bought or leased 5,931 vehicles from 2014 through August 2021, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. There are more than 22 million registered vehicles in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
Another Texas resident was reimbursed $2,500 for buying a Karma Revero GT. The 2021 version of that sports car has a sticker price of between $144,800 and $152,800, according to Edmunds.
Most rebates awarded through the incentive program went to buyers of more moderately priced vehicles, according to a report from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which runs the program.
The Nissan Leaf, one of the least expensive electric vehicles offered for sale in the United States, accounted for 1,416 rebates totaling $3,064,645. The next most popular was the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which accounted for 758 rebates totaling $1,895,000. That was followed by the Chevrolet Volt, which accounted for 663 totaling $1,640,000, according to records from 2014 through August 2021. Those three models alone accounted for rebates of $6,599,645 or 46% of the total rebates granted from 2014 through August 2021.
Luxury car buyers got the same rebates as those who bought less expensive cars. Audi buyers got rebates worth $628,298. BMW buyers got rebates of $1,490,400. Porsche buyers got rebates of $201,665. Buyers of vehicles from luxury automakers Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo got combined rebates of $2,784,528. That’s 19% of the total amount of the grants awarded through the program from 2014 to 2021.
Critics of the rebate program, such as the Texas Public Policy Foundation, are calling for it to be ended.