For just over a decade now, the U.S. has had a federal tax credit worth up to $7,500 for buyers of electric cars and plug-in hybrids. The catch has been that, once 200,000 of them were claimed for a manufacturer, that credit would be phased out. Now, automakers are asking for this cap to be lifted across the board, specifically General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Stellantis.
The request comes in the form of a joint letter to Congress (which you can read here), signed by the CEOs of each company. And the ask really is as simple as that. The automakers would like the cap lifted for all EV manufacturers, and instead have a sunset date for the tax credit put in place. Broadly speaking, they want it lifted because of concerns about rising costs from materials and supply chain issues, which can lead to higher prices and could discourage buyers from getting an EV.
It would also put automakers back on an even playing field. GM reached its tax credit cap a few years ago, meaning that none of its EVs are eligible for the tax credit. So while it reaped the benefits early on, it now has something of a disadvantage to competitors with credits remaining, such as those that signed on to this letter. GM wouldn't be the only beneficiary. Tesla ran out of credits years ago, too. Nissan still has credits, but likely not for much longer, as InsideEVs reports around 190,000 Leafs have been sold in the U.S. as of April. So it will probably face a phase-out soon, just as the anticipated, and more expensive, Ariya is heading to market.
Making this change would also seem like a good choice for continuing to stimulate EV sales, if that's what the government is looking to do. While EVs are now reaching parity in practicality and performance with gas-powered cars, having an additional financial incentive will surely keep them looking more attractive. And automakers can push EVs without fear of running out of credits early.
Certainly some sorts of changes to the EV tax credit are likely. There are bills in the works focusing on cap changes as well as the amount of money available, and which vehicles are eligible. Credits up to $12,500 have been proposed, plus possible credits for used EV sales and restricting some credits to vehicles of certain price brackets. Of course, any changes will require some cooperation in a deeply divided Congress.