Dive Brief:

  • Customers of Pacific Gas & Electric or Southern California Edisonshopping for a new vehicle could save more than $20,000 off the cost of a new 2017 or 2018 BMW i3 or i3s electric vehicle, when a hefty discount associated with the utility is combined with other state and federal incentives.
  • PG&E announced this month that customers could use a $10,000 discount on the electric BMWs through May 31, in addition to two years of free charging at some locations. SoCal Edison announced much the same discount in February, and San Diego Gas & Electric ran a similar offer last year.
  • The steep discounts aim to help California meet its aggressive goal of having 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030. At the same time, the car manufacturer can possibly snag a larger share of the emerging market.

Dive Insight:

BMW is aiming to attract new drivers through the steep discounts, while utilities help advance state goals and their own transportation electrification strategies. The five-digit discount on a new car has been used before, and as more customers go electric there will likely be additional opportunities.

PSE&G in New Jersey is also running the deep discount on new electric BMWs, and last year, several Hawaiian utilities offered $10,000 off a new Nissan Leaf.

In California, which leads the nation in EV adoption, the discounts are particularly deep when paired with state incentives, potentially reducing the cost by 40%. A federal tax credit is good for $7,500, and the California state rebate adds $2,500 in savings. ​PG&E also offers a clean fuel rebate that is good for a one-time $500 rebate. PG&E estimates that customers on its residential EV rate plans pay the equivalent of $1.20/gallon to charge their vehicle overnight.

Combined, PG&E customers could get $20,500 off the cost of a new electric BMW. And on top of that, customers can enroll in BWM’s ChargeNow program offering two years of free charging at participating EVgo stations.

Transportation makes up about 40% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, and electric vehicles are a “critical part of reducing emissions,” PG&E Senior Vice President Steve Malnight said in a statement. The utility recently launched a plan to install 7,500 EV chargers at multi-family dwellings and workplaces across Northern and Central California.

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