In mid-September, DailyTech brought you news that congress was working on a new round of tax credits targeted at plug-in electric/hybrid vehicles. The tax credits were projected to weigh in at $3,000 for plug-in vehicles with at least a 6 kWh battery and top out at $7,500.
Toyota, which sells its Prius featuring a 1.3 kWh battery pack, balked at the tax credits as its hybrids wouldn't even qualify for the entry-level tax credit. Toyota also was unhappy that the only vehicle in the near future likely to qualify for the maximum $7,500 tax credit is the Chevrolet Volt.
Despite its opposition, Toyota's fears became law last week when President Bush signed the legislation which passed in the House by a vote of 263 to 171 as a part of the massive $700 billion Wall Street bailout package. The entire 10-year tax package for plug-in electric/hybrid vehicles is worth $1 billion.
Requirements to qualify for the tax credit have changed slightly since its inception in the Senate. The 6 kWh battery minimum dropped down to 4 kWh, while the base tax credit rose from $3,000 to $4,168. The maximum credit remains at $7,500 for the Chevrolet Volt with its 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The Chevrolet Volt gets its primary power from a 150 HP, 273 lb-ft electric motor. A 1.4 liter gasoline engine is also used to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack once the Volt's 40-mile battery range is depleted. According to GM, the Volt can save customers $1,500 per year in fuel costs based on a daily commute of 40 miles.
The $7,500 tax credit should go a long way towards making the Chevrolet Volt more affordable. Current estimates place the base price of the vehicle at $40,000 or higher.
quote: A few facts: * With a yen valued at 118 to the dollar, Japanese automakers enjoy an average windfall $4,000 cost advantage per vehicle more than they would if the yen traded at its true value. The overall subsidy Japanese automakers gain for the 2.2 million vehicles they import totaled $8.8 billion in 2006. * The total yen subsidy provided to Japanese automakers in 2006 was $13.4 billion – $8.8 billion for car & truck exports to the U.S. and $ 4.6 billion for imported parts used in American-made Japanese cars.* More than half (52%) of all automobiles manufactured in Japan were designated for export in 2006, exceeding 50% for the first time in 19 years. In fact, even as demand within Japan for new autos is declining, Japanese companies are adding production capacity to Japan-based facilities, reactivating assembly lines, adding workers and postponing planned factory closures as they move to export ever greater numbers of vehicles.
quote: In many, many other sectors, we are by far the dominant economic force in the world.
quote: The U.S is never going to have the same amount of economic power again.