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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 Edmunds.com, 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.

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Taxpayers to Subsidize EVs and Charging Stations

Department of Energy project will install 15,000 240-volt outlets, many of them in private homes. U.S. workers to pay.

by on Jun.18, 2010

Should taxpayers subsidize EVs?

A company called Ecotality has received another $15 million from the Department of Energy to provide free home chargers to the purchasers of Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, a $1,000 to $2,000 saving courtesy of U.S. workers.

This new Federal grant extension includes $15 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, which will be matched with $15 million in private funds, for a total of $30 million.

ARRA, in case you forgot, was an almost $1 trillion dollar bill – in both legislative and cost senses – by the new Obama Administration that used borrowed money to stimulate the U.S. economy. This was after the outgoing Bush Administration allowed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008 and the financial markets imploded. Whether it actually stimulated the economy or just stopped a further contraction or was just more pork for special interests is still a matter of debate.

These new federal funds to Ecotality are in addition to the original grant of almost $100 million to Ecoality’s EV Project in October of 1999, which was created through ARRA.

The additional taxpayer largesse comes as the House of Lords in the United Kingdom is due to debate next week controversial electric vehicle subsidies of up to $7,400 per car and $44 million for charging stations in London and other urban areas. Similar and just as expensive giveaways are under consideration by governments globally.

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Who Pays?

The conversion of automobility to electric vehicles will require these taxpayer subsidies, according to proponents. Critics counter that this is shaping up to be a massive raid on public coffers by special interests under the guise of cleaner air.

The debate has taken on new political urgency as the Global Great Recession drags on and governments continue to run huge, unsustainable deficits, and financial reforms over the practices that started this mess are stalled by corporate lobbyists.   (more…)

UK Proposes First EV Subsidies for Businesses

Both businesses and consumers, if they can afford electric vehicles, stand to benefit from the costly subvention.

by on Dec.10, 2009

That would be taxpayer money, lots of it, at the other end of the cord.

That would be taxpayer money, lots of it, at the other end of the charging cord.

Since batteries for electric vehicles can cost as much as the car itself, and much more for larger ones, automakers are asking for huge taxpayer subsidies to aid EV sales.

The United Kingdom is the latest government to propose EV financial assistance.

In an historic announcement for the island nation, Chancellor Alastair Darling in his pre-budget report proposed that consumer incentives worth £2,000 to £5,000 ($8,100) would be available starting in 2011 to reduce the purchase price of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Substantial assistance for businesses buying EVs is also part of the budget; and it appears that the UK is the first government to do so.

“To help boost the number of electric cars on our streets, I have decided to exempt them from company car tax for 5 years. And I can also announce a 100% first year capital allowance for electric vans,” Darling said.

The latest announcement follows a £30 million “Plugged in Places” program launched last month to support the development of charging infrastructure in several UK cities.

Watching Your Wallet!

Watching Your Wallet!

The European Union is moving ahead — over automakers’ protests — with new CO2 standards for passenger cars that dictate a reduction in average CO2 emissions from new cars to 120 g/km. Fewer than 9% of the cars sold in the EU in 2006 met this level of emissions. The costs of are estimated at about €3,600 ($5,108) on average per car.

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