Looking for more EV incentives to help you bring down the price of your next ride? If you are a current resident of the Prairie State, we’ve got good news and bad news for you.

The good news: Illinois has an EV rebate program!

The bad news: the Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate Program is currently out of funds and is not taking applications.

But that’s not the end of the story. Let’s talk about the EV rebate program in Illinois: what it offers, who’s eligible, why the program is still relevant if you plan on buying an EV soon, and how to find a great deal on an EV even if you can’t get the Illinois rebate.

Illinois EV Incentives

As we get started, we’d like to point out that this article is for informational purposes only. This article is not intended to provide tax, legal, financial, or accounting advice; we’re EV experts, not tax professionals or lawyers. Before making any big financial decision, you should talk to your own financial and legal advisors.

While an Illinois EV tax credit doesn’t exist, per se, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) does offer a pretty generous $4,000 rebate for individual consumers who purchase a new or used EV. The program specifies that the EV must be purchased from a licensed dealership based in Illinois. You’ll need to hang on to your electric car, truck, or SUV for at least 12 months to keep the money, so rented and leased vehicles are not eligible.

Fun fact: unlike the Federal Clean Vehicle Credit, the Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate Program includes electric motorcycles in their eligibility criteria. However, since they tend to cost less than an electric car or SUV, electric motorcycles are only eligible for a $1,500 rebate. They also need to be highway-capable; if it isn’t legal to drive over 45 mph on a highway, it isn’t eligible.

How Do You Qualify for Illinois’ EV Rebate?

Only residents of the State of Illinois are eligible for Illinois’ EV rebate. Additionally, you have to be a resident both at the time of purchasing your EV and when you receive the rebate, so you can’t buy a qualifying EV and move before you receive the funds.

You can only be accepted to the program once; each individual is only allowed one rebate every ten years. Also business and government agencies—basically anything other than an individual taxpayer—are not eligible to apply to the program. You’ll need to make sure to keep any Corp or LLC signatures off of your purchase and registration documentation.

Does the Illinois EV rebate have an income limit? The short answer is no, but your income still matters.

While income is not a bar to eligibility for the rebate, low income applicants are supposed to be prioritized when funding is dispersed. Low income is defined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as not exceeding 80% of the state median income, and depends on the number of members in the household. The IEPA website states that the exact income thresholds considered will be included in each round of application instructions.

Which EVs Qualify for the Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate?

The Illinois EV rebate is only for new or used all-electric vehicle purchases, so hybrids (plug-in or otherwise) don’t count. However, as we’ve already pointed out, an all-electric vehicle can be an electric car, truck, SUV or motorcycle (but not a moped or off-road-only vehicle like a golf cart or ATV). And unlike requirements for the Federal EV Tax Credit, purchasing price isn’t a limiting factor unless it’s worth less than the rebate (not likely for EVs other than electric motorcycles).

Only electric vehicles sold by dealers located in the State of Illinois and licensed by the Illinois Secretary of State are eligible for the rebate. You can’t apply if the vehicle you bought was an out of state purchase or purchased through a private owner. And like we said earlier, this only applies to a fully-purchased vehicle: no rentals or leases allowed.

If you are purchasing a used EV, you’ll need to make sure no one else has previously gotten a rebate for that vehicle. The IEPA tracks these rebates by VIN and only allows each VIN to receive the rebate once. You can check the IEPA website for a list of VIN numbers for cars that have already received the rebate (currently, this list is a pdf located in the section called “VIN Lookup”).

How Does the EV Rebate in Illinois Work?

First thing’s first: you’ll need to buy a qualifying EV from a qualifying Illinois dealership. Only after you’ve purchased the car can you provide the documents required for the application. You are only eligible to apply within 90 days of purchase, so it’s best to hold off on buying an EV until the next funded rebate cycle is open if you want to apply.

Next, you’ll need to provide four kinds of documentation in your application to the program:

  • A copy of your bill of sale, the purchase invoice, or your Illinois dealership’s purchase agreement.
  • Proof of purchase: a voided copy of the check, or an invoice, or bill that shows the purchase is paid in full, or the loan documentation for this transaction.
  • A copy of your Illinois vehicle registration or the temp tags provided to you by your dealership when you purchased or took delivery of your EV.
  • IRS W-9 or W-8 form

If the IEPA rejects your application, you’ll receive a letter of denial in the mail that states why your application was rejected, whether that involves you or your vehicle being ineligible, your application being incomplete, or if the program has insufficient funds. However, receiving this letter doesn’t mean you can’t apply again and qualify for the rebate in the future.

On the other hand, if you apply and are accepted into the program, the Illinois Comptroller will mail you a check for the rebate amount within a few weeks of the closing of the current funding cycle. Remember, this program offers a rebate, not an EV tax credit. You will receive the actual amount that you applied for in the mail rather than reducing your tax burden (which is what the Federal EV Tax Credit program does).

How do you know if your application has been accepted? Well, you simply have to wait to see if a letter of denial or a check shows up at your mailing address. Apparently, in the case of the Illinois EV rebate program, no news is good news.

We’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth restating: if you do get accepted by the Illinois EV rebate program, you’ll need to keep your EV for no less than 12 months after buying it to keep the $4000; otherwise, the State of Illinois can legally pursue the return of those funds. This helps the program benefit actual consumers in the program instead of giving the money to resellers.

So here’s the thing: when funding for the program runs out or an application cycle closes (so far, this has been a 3 month window for applying), there is no way to get in line for the rebate. At the time of writing, the November 1, 2022 – January 31, 2023 round of applications is closed. More importantly, it effectively closed early for the latest round: funding for the program ran out by the second week of January.

There’s still good news, though: The Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate Act says that the program is set to run for at least a decade, so applications should open back up again when the state secures more funding. If you are planning to buy a qualifying EV in the next three months, you really should sign up for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s EV Listserve (email signup is at the bottom of the page) and keep your eyes open for funding announcements.

Need Another Way to Save on EVs in Illinois?

While the Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate is certainly a great way to get some money back in your pocket after purchasing an EV, it’s not guaranteed. And with the uncertainty about when funding will be available for the program, most Illinois residents are free to look for the best used EV deal even off the lots of Illinois-only dealers.

Prices for EVs on the used market have fallen rapidly from their heights in 2020-2022. In 2023, buyers can find incredible deals on the private market. But finding those deals can be full of frustration on traditional listing sites that slap EV and ICE cars together in the same crowded space.

That’s where we come in. Our used EV marketplace has a constantly growing selection of EVs, from used Tesla Model 3’s and Chevrolet Bolts to Rivian R1Ts and the Lucid Air Grand Touring. We make it faster than ever to filter for exactly the specs and features you want.

And the best part? Find My Electric is focused on used EVs and EVs only. No ICE Fords or Chevrolets here!

With the best and easiest to use listing technology in the business, we can help you narrow down your options and get in contact with sellers quickly and efficiently.

Don’t let your used EV search get bogged down on listing sites full of ICE cars and junk ads. Check out our listings to find your next ride today!