Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – General Motors Company has sold a total of 200,000 electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States from 2010 to 2018, an achievement in itself, however humble.
This achievement, however, is tempered by the reality that reaching this EV sales threshold means GM will no longer qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit over the next 15 months. The 200,000 figure includes GM’s cumulative EV sales since 2010.
Instead, GM will only be able to grant buyers a $3,750 in April and $1,875 in October for six months. The credit will no longer be available by April 2020.
The consumer tax credit aims to defray the cost of EVs, which are more expensive than similarly sized internal combustion engine vehicles. Congress set the phase-out threshold at 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer in 2009.
GM rival Tesla Inc hit the 200,000 figure in July 2018. Tesla’s EV tax credit fell to $3,750 on Jan. 1. Tesla said it was cutting prices on its EVs by $2,000 to partially offset the smaller tax credit.
Since July 2018, both EV makers have lobbied Congress to lift the cap or extend the existing tax credit. Previous to this, or in March, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra urged Congress to expand the consumer tax credit for EVs as GM boosted production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV in response to consumer demand. She repeated the request in December but Congress has yet to act on her request.
In November, GM said it was doubling resources allocated to developing EV and self-driving cars as part of a significant restructuring that includes ending production of combustion-engine cars at five plants in the U.S. and Canada. GM also said it will cease production of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt this March.
A congressional report issued in November said 57,066 taxpayers claimed $375 million in EV tax credits in 2016. Congress estimates the cost of the EV tax credit at $7.5 billion between the 2018 and 2022 fiscal years.
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