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December 26, 2023

EV Tax: Navigating Changes, Challenges, and Chevy Bolts of Innovation

Beginning January 1, the game-changing rebate is shifting gears to become an instant joy for buyers

Rev up your engines, tech enthusiasts, because the federal tax credit for electric vehicles is taking a detour that could make your next EV purchase a smoother ride. Starting January 1, the EV rebate, a potential windfall of up to $7,500 for new EVs and $4,000 for used ones, won't be a post-purchase tax claim ordeal anymore. Now, you get to enjoy the rebate right at the dealership, putting more green back in your pocket.

Even more exciting, over 7,000 car dealerships are on board, ready to make your EV dreams come true. That's nearly half of all new car dealerships across the nation. However, before you start planning your electric joyride, there's a twist: the full $7,500 credit might be a rare find in the showroom come the new year. Why? Let's dive into the evolving landscape of EV incentives.

President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act shook things up, reimagining the purpose of EV credits. Should they simply boost sales of zero-emission vehicles, or should they fuel the growth of the electric vehicle supply chain in North America? The compromise landed somewhere in the middle, effectively splitting the credit into two components.

Vehicles can snag a $3,500 credit if manufacturers adhere to guidelines on sourcing battery materials and another $3,500 if they play by the rules for battery components. (Manufacturing in North America becomes the golden ticket for anything above that.) However, come 2024, those sourcing requirements tighten, creating a potential bottleneck for full credit eligibility.

As we shift into the new year, automakers are unveiling their cards. General Motors announced that only the Chevy Bolt will qualify for the full tax credit starting January 1, leaving the pricier Cadillac Lyriq and the spanking-new Chevy Blazer out of the tax credit party. Ford follows suit, with only the F-150 Lightning earning the full $7,500 credit, while others like the Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit van miss the mark.

Even Tesla, the maestro of clean energy credits, faces uncertainties. Initially signaling a loss of half the credit for certain Model 3 variants, the company later hinted at a complete loss. The Model Y might also find itself on the ineligible list.

As we gear up for 2024, the Treasury Department will compile the official list of qualifying EVs on its website, unraveling the complexity of the electric vehicle landscape. The uncertainty mirrors the intricate dance of building EVs in a supply chain world largely centered around China. One thing's for sure: the road to electric dreams is paved with complexities and compromises. Stay tuned as automakers navigate this EV tax credit maze, making the choice for an electric future more intriguing and, at times, a tad messy.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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