Electric-car charger tax credit expires, despite EV sales increase

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 28, 2011

Various groups are protesting the move of the U.S. government to soon end its offer of a tax credit for the installation of a home and commercial charging equipment just as several new plug-in electric vehicles are about to arrive in the showrooms. The tax credit for chargers expires on Saturday even as proponents urge Congress to put it back, maybe even retroactively, this January. Genevieve Cullen, vice president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, a trade group for the electric-vehicle industry, said that the timing is “unfortunate” because additional electric cars are on the way.

Tom Saxton of advocacy group Plug In America said that this credit allowed this new industry to grow. With this credit, taxpayers could deduct 30% of the price of chargers put in their garages for up to $1,000. The IRS said that the tax break could go as high as $30,000 on commercial units.

This is actually a downgrade from 2010, when the government offered a 50% tax credit as part of its stimulus package. The credit is considered to be another subsidy for the use of electric vehicles, considered as a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and lessen the reliance on foreign oil. However, the $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of new electric vehicles is still in effect.

Notably, there is a wide variety in the prices of electric chargers and installation. General Motors said that the charger for its Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in that features a backup gas engine, is priced at $490. Consumers may pay from $500 to $1,500 for installation.

GM spokesman Rob Peterson said that Volt sales will be minimally affected by the expiration of the tax credit since about 40% of buyers recharge from their home 110-volt sockets instead of the special 220-volt charger, which halves the time to recharge the battery.

The stance of the new Chevrolet Volt is defined by its wide tracks -- 61.2 inches (1,556 mm) on the front and 62.1 inches on the rear (1,578 mm), wheels-out stance, sculpted belt line and 105.7-inch (2,685 mm) wheelbase. This results to a sleek and performance-oriented stance that appropriately exudes the Volt’s electrically driven capabilities while still looking like a premium midsize sport sedan.

Director of design Bob Boniface quipped that since the Volt is a revolutionary car, its design should be sleek and dynamic. He added that the Volt is technical and refined in execution, featuring interconnecting surfaces with neat and crisp edges and creases. Design and engineering teams collaborated with aerodynamicists in GM's wind tunnel to shape the most aerodynamic vehicle in Chevrolet's history.

This means that less energy is required to overcome air resistance, adding around eight miles of electric range, and 50 miles of extended range. As a result, the new Volt is specified with rounded and flush front fascia, tapered corners and grille – all enabling easier flow of air for lesser drag. Airflow on the rear, meanwhile, is controlled by sharp edges and a well-designed spoiler while turbulence and drag are lessened by an aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass.

Interestingly, the Volt boasts of element-to-element gap and flush relationships that are as good as or even better than its segment rivals. By employing similarly grained surfaces and colors, all components of the Volt feature a high standard of appearance.

The gloss black rear liftgate appliqué is home to the Chevrolet bowtie and a Volt insignia. Another Volt insignia is found on the forward quarter panel. The new Volt is available in six exterior colors: Black, Cyber Gray Metallic, Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat, Silver Ice Metallic, Viridian Joule Tricoat and White Diamond Tricoat.

Topics: electric car

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