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.