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Taxpayers Provided $135 mil Subsidy for Battery-Car Buyers in 2011

Treasury offers even more to manufacturers.

by on May.02, 2012

Battery cars like the Mitsubishi i ran up $135 million in federal subsidies to buyers last year.

The U.S. battery car market got off to a slow start last year.  From the standpoint of a deficit-ridden Treasury, that’s probably the good news.

A quick run of the calculator suggests that the federal government provided about $135 million in subsidies during 2011 for purchasers of vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.  And with sales likely to more than double this year, the hand-outs – in the form of federal tax credits – will also rise sharply.

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In all, American motorists purchased about 18,000 battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and extended-range electric vehicles, or E-REVs, in 2011, and according to, that works out to approximately $135 million when you consider that most of those vehicles qualified for the maximum $7,500 in tax credits.  That figure does not include additional credits and rebates offered by more than a dozen states and some municipalities.


Obama Aims to Boost Battery Car Tax Credit

Proposal would raise figure to $10,000.

by on Feb.16, 2012

President Obama during the state-of-the-union address last month.

President Barack Obama wants to turn on the electric vehicle market and is proposing a significant increase in the already sizable tax credit available to buyers of battery cars and plug-in hybrids.

As part of his latest budget proposal, the President has proposed increasing the current $7,500 tax credit – available for vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt – to $10,000 with the goal of boosting demand for the high-mileage vehicles.

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The Obama Administration has strongly backed the push for electric propulsion – which many experts believe will be essential to meet the strict fuel economy mandates set to go into place in 2025.

But despite following through on a State-of-the-Union promise to also include $4 billion in new subsidies for the oil and gas industries, the overall budget proposal appears to have little chance of passage, at least without significant changes.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, denounced the Obama budget as little more than a “campaign document.”


New House Bill Would Add Incentives for Battery Cars

Measure would increase tax credits to $9,500.

by on May.04, 2011

A new measure proposed by Congress would increase consumer and community subsidies to promote sales of battery cars like this Ford Focus Electric.

A new measure up for debate in the U.S. House of Representatives could add significant incentive to get more motorists driving electric.

The proposal would increase the current, $7,500 federal tax credit for buyers of qualifying electric vehicles to $9,500.  And it would provide up to $300 million in funding to 10 cities to help them promote the sale and se of battery cars.

Similar to an outline floated by the White House, the measure could gain traction at a time when gasoline costs are once again approaching all-time records.  But the bill comes at a time when the House is now dominated by the GOP, a party that has dismissed the threat of global warming and put its focus on deficit cutting over seemingly all else.

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The so-called Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act, which counts Massachusetts’ powerful Cong. Ed Markey among its backers, would provide a mix of consumer and community incentives while also promoting the update of utility infrastructure to ensure energy providers can deliver the power needed for a national fleet of battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.


GM Looking to Cut Volt Production Costs

But a lower-priced Chevy battery car not on the horizon - yet - maker cautions.

by on Feb.02, 2011

Congress is looking at expanding the current $7,500 tax credit for advanced propulsion vehicles, like the Chevy Volt.

Even the latest news about Egypt got bumped to the back page as a “historic” blizzard bore down on the Eastern half of the U.S. yesterday, but one story made it through in many outlets: an equally breathless report that General Motors was developing a lower-cost version of the Chevrolet Volt.

The 4-seat plug-in hybrid has generated plenty of its own headlines, in recent months, capturing a series of kudos, including the much-sought honor of being named North American Car of the Year.  Still, at a base price of $41,000, the Chevy Volt is playing in rarified luxury car territory, rather than in the mainstream, like the similar, if conventionally-powered Chevrolet Cruze.  So, the idea of getting a significantly cheaper battery car would understandably make the evening news.

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Problem is, no such lower-priced version of the Volt is in the works, GM officials stressed to – even though they admit to aggressively trying to trim production costs.  And, eventually, the underlying technology could be shared with lower-priced model – with the emphasis on longer-term.

“We’re not recreating the Volt,” assured Rob Peterson, spokesman for GM’s electrification program.  “There’s no separate development process underway to develop a lower-cost Volt (though) there s an effort to reduce costs in time for the second-generation Volt.”


White House Plans For 1 Million Plug-in Hybrids

“Sparking whole new industries,” proclaims VP Biden.

by on Jan.26, 2011

The White House wants to get 1 million plug-in hybrids - like this Chevy Volt - on the road.

Saying the administration hopes to “spark…whole new industries,” Vice President Joe Biden outlined the White House goal of getting 1 million plug-in hybrids on the road.

Since taking office in January 2009, President Barack Obama has expressed strong support for the nation’s nascent battery industry – the administration providing billions of dollars of financial assistance, in both grants and loans, to spur the development of advanced batteries and the vehicles that will put them on the road.

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The White House wants to nearly double federal subsidies to buyers, make it easy for customers to collect those payments, and then provide as much as $200 million in assistance to as many as 30 cities to put in place the infrastructure to support a growing fleet of battery cars.

The payoff will be felt not just by the environment but by a nation looking to create jobs, Vice President Biden suggested, during a tour of the New York-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer Ener1.

“We’re not just creating new jobs, but sparking whole new industries that will ensure our competitiveness for decades to come — industries like electric vehicle manufacturing,” said the Vice President.