Home>Articles>New Bill Proposes Giving $2,000 To Californians To Convert Gas-Powered Cars To Electric

Senator Anthony Portantino. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

New Bill Proposes Giving $2,000 To Californians To Convert Gas-Powered Cars To Electric

Many automotive experts question figures in proposed $2 million a year rebate program bill

By Evan Symon, February 8, 2023 12:20 pm

A new bill proposes giving California residents a $2,000 rebate for converting their gas vehicle to an electric vehicle. However, auto experts question if conversions can happen as cheaply as claimed by the bill’s backers.

Senate Bill 301, by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), would have the California Air Resources Board (CARB) establish the Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project (ZACP). Under ZACP, California residents would be able to get a rebate for up to $2,000 for converting an eligible gas-powered vehicle into  a zero-emission vehicle. $2 million would be allocated annually from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for the program, with any unused funds at the end of the year to be returned to the Project. If passed, SB 301 would also  establish guidelines for the program and create a criteria for those wishing to get a rebate.

SB 301 is the latest bill to promote the growth of electric vehicles in California following Governor Gavin Newsom’s September 2020 executive order that bans the sale of all new gas-powered vehicles in California beginning in 2035. Previous legislative actions and state agency decisions have promoted the growth of zero-emissions vehicles by greatly expanding the number of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state to halting the construction of new gas stations. However, before SB 301, little attention was given to vehicle conversions.

Senator Portantino authored the bill to not only help California meet upcoming climate goals and help create jobs in the automotive and electric vehicle industries, but to also provide Californians a cheaper option to get an electric car. In a statement made last week, the Senator claimed that a new electric car cost an average of $66,000, while vehicle conversion could cost as little as $14,000.

“It is essential that we continue to look for new methods and ideas to meet our strong climate goals,” said Senator Portantino last week. “SB 301 will make it much easier for many Californians who have the desire to go green but lack the financial capacity to do so. It will aide conversion by providing a financial rebate for Californians who choose to convert their gas-powered car into an electric vehicle but can’t afford to do so. Cutting edge energy efficiency should not be reserved only for those wealthy enough to afford it.”

“California has multiple programs, including the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) and the Clean Cars for All Program, to promote the purchase of new ZEVs. However, even with a financial rebate to purchase a new electric vehicle, ZEVs are unaffordable for many working-class Californians, with the cost of a new electric vehicle averaging at $66,000. ZEV conversions of gas-powered vehicles that started their life with an internal-combustion engine can be converted to a ZEV via an aftermarket package, alternatively, and can be completed for as little as $14,000.”

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) President Mike Spagnola added, “The aftermarket is a leader in innovation, and that includes in zero-emissions technologies. SB 301 creates opportunities for our California-based small businesses, their employees and consumers to build and have access to affordable zero-emissions vehicles.”

Automotive experts question figures put forward in SB 301

While there has been some support for the bill, more automotive experts are finding that the large gap in prices that the Senator presented is actually much, much narrower, with some used electric vehicle options being around the conversion price point he made.

“The Senator is obviously using the numbers that look the best, giving the price of a new, higher-end vehicle, against a conversion price that fails to factor in a lot of things,” explained Eric Clarke, a Northern Virginia based automotive consultant, to the Globe Wednesday. “Parts and labor for an electric conversion is actually closer to $20,000, depending on the car. If you know what you’re doing, you can actually go from a kit for around $8,000, but that isn’t a guarantee, and if you get something wrong, costs can go way up. It honestly depends. But $14,000. He picked the cheapest with mechanic option there in California.”

“As for that $66,000 price for a new electric car. There are actually tons of options under the $40,000 range, and not just of the smaller variety either. And he’s also ignoring the rapidly growing used market, with many under $30,000 and $25,000. In California, some are close to that $14,000 figure for conversion he put out there.

“A much better argument would have been supply, as electric cars, as well as hybrids, have been extremely hard to get for the past year or two. But, even with that, car companies are greatly increasing production to the extent that electric vehicle costs will go down so much that it will make conversion programs like this not that useful. A bigger focus on used-electric vehicles to help those on more of a budget would have been the better idea.”

SB 301 is currently awaiting to be heard in the Senate.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Evan Symon
Spread the news:


16 thoughts on “New Bill Proposes Giving $2,000 To Californians To Convert Gas-Powered Cars To Electric

  1. Ah yes…because $2,000 off a $55,000+ Tesla is going to go a long way for someone who is making the median income in the state. The people proposing this are clowns.

  2. California has a projected budget deficit of billions of dollars (actually it’s a budget deficit of trillions of dollars if unfunded government pension liabilities are included) but fiscally irresponsible Democrats like Senator Anthony Portantino want to give California residents a $2,000 rebate for converting their gas vehicle to an electric vehicle when only the most wealthy can afford them? This is the perverted notion of “equity” that Democrats are always talking about?

    1. Well to be honest, EVERYONE should qualify for the rebates.
      Simple, the rich are the ones paying the taxes that are funding that stupid rebate, so why shouldn’t they be able to get some of the money back that was originally stolen from them by the govt?

  3. This is one bill that is not going anywhere, whether it passes or now. No one is going to be converting a gasoline car to electric based on $2000.

  4. you clowns can’t even keep your lights on now, so how are you going to power gigawatts of electric vehicles?
    you deserve the misery coming your way.

  5. This has got to be in the Top Five of the most preposterous bills EVER proposed in California…. and that’s really saying something. And by the way, does being in the budget hole cause legislators to think up even MORE ridiculous ways to waste even MORE of our money? These people officially have too much time on their hands.

  6. I want a bill to convert all the wind mills to diesel. Oh wait. Ol’ Blighty powers their windmills on diesel already.

    When you think you have seen the final depth of stupid they dig even deeper.

  7. Costs and labor for the electric retrofit vary, from anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000, depending on how many steps are required for the vehicle, from removing the engine, gas tank, exhaust system, and clutch to rewiring the ignition switch. That 2000.00 will sure help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *