Friday, January 06, 2012

Calls Come In To Can Credit For Plug In Electrics Like Chevy Volt

The Chevy Volt has gotten some real bad press lately. General Motors has had to essentially recall its entire production run of Volts to fix a problem that arose during testing by the NHSTA and IIHS that haven't been found on the street - the potential for a fire hazard due to certain kinds of side impacts. GM rightfully takes a hit over the flaw, and will cost the company an undetermined amount of money.

However, some, including the Washington Post, are using that as an excuse to support killing a tax credit for purchasing plug-in and full electric vehicles. The tax credits amount to $7,500. While that might be a giveaway to the rich for someone looking to purchase a $100,000+ Karma or a Tesla Roadster, the Volt is in the same price range as many fully loaded SUVs.

The Washington Post op-ed misleads about the nature of the power pack problem and the fire hazard. They're playing fast and loose with the fact, and while I have no love lost for GM and its product lines, that's unfair to GM.

The op-ed also fails to understand that once a person installs a charging station, that's a piece of infrastructure that can be used by future occupants and others down the line. That's a durable good that enhances power distribution and makes electric vehicles more feasible down the line. It's the kind of action that should be encouraged, though one can question just how much such encouragement should take.

The $7,500 credit for cars like the Volt or the Nissan Leaf bring the car price down to within the same range as hybrid cars like the Prius Plug In (the Prius is no longer eligible for the credit since the 2007 model year when it exceeded the program limits for cars manufactured). The thinking behind the credit is that by giving a tax credit, more people will be encouraged to buy the product at early stages (early adopters) and manufacturers will accelerate development of new and better models that get better mileage.

1 comment:

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