Incentives Watch: Are Disinterested Consumers Killing the Electric Car?

Despite the availability of numerous tax credits and incentives, not to mention countless commercials and even movies about the industry itself, electric vehicle sales have yet to meet expectations. With the news that electric vehicle battery maker A123 Systems, Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, many are wondering now more than ever if electric vehicles are about to become a thing of the past instead of the wave of the future.

The Chevrolet Volt is the most popular electric vehicle currently on the market, according to a New York Daily Newsarticle. However, as of last month, sales of Volts reached only 16, 348. This number is much lower than the 45,000 that the U.S. Department of Energy predicted would be sold each year, the article reports.

Despite low sales, states continue to offer various incentives that encourage consumers to buy electric, and other alternative energy, vehicles. South Carolina, for example, recently announced that the 2012 and 2013 Chevrolet Volts have been certified for the state’s plug-in hybrid vehicle tax credit, reports a Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Reportarticle. The credit amount is equal to $1,999.

An income tax credit of $667 is available for the purchase or lease of new plug-in hybrid vehicles, plus $111 if the vehicle has at least five kilowatt hours of battery capacity. Taxpayers may receive an additional $111 for each kilowatt hour of battery capacity that exceeds five kilowatt hours. The credit is available for the 2012 through 2016 tax years.

According to a Bloomberg Government article, Volts start at $39,145, so even with the federal tax credit of $7,500 and the South Carolina tax credit combined, the vehicle remains pricey.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin also offer electric vehicle tax credits and incentives. For more information about the various electric vehicle tax credits, check out Bloomberg BNA’s Green Incentives Navigator.

In other developments . . .

California enacted legislation that extends the tax credit for film and television productions in California through July 1, 2017, according to a Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Reportarticle.

By: Kathleen Caggiano

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