Things Important But Often Omitted When Getting an Electric Car

Electric cars are getting popular among buyers. Since 2010, the sales of electric cars have been growing to about 0.6% of total sales in the US. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted that electric cars could account for 35% of new car sales by 2040. It is well known that electric cars can help save on driving cost, but the high price, lack of chargers and limited range are concerning. However, these limitations may not be as bad as they seem to be.

Actual cost of driving an electric car can be comparable to that of a regular car. Although the price tags of most electric cars are over $30k, you can immediately cut them by thousands of dollars through government incentives. For example, there is federal tax credit as much as $7,500 available in the US. (Please see our previous articles on What You Can Get From Government for Getting an Electric Car in California – Part 1 and Part 2) Plus, your monthly spending on driving can be only half for an electric car as compared with a regular car. This applies to the current low gas prices. Electric cars can drive at 3-5 miles/kWh. Some brands like Nissan and BMW currently even offer free charging in certain charging networks (although those charger locations may not be convenient for you to get to).

A side note on electricity cost: depending on your home energy consumption, the rate can be different for charging an electric car. There can be multiply plans from energy providers for you to choose from. Utility companies like PG&E in California offers plans designed for charging electric cars.

You can use a wall socket to charge electric car. A charge can cost over a thousand dollars. This spending can easily offset your savings on driving cost over a few years. The good news is you have the option to simply plug the car in a standard wall outlet at home. In the US, the standard outlet is rated at 15A and 110V. The charging power can be around 1.2 kW, which means 4-6 miles per hour charged. This is probably sufficient if your commute is less than 40 miles round-trip.

(200-mile all-electric Chevy Bolt. © General Motors.)
(200-mile all-electric Chevy Bolt. © General Motors.)

There are (and will be) ways to extend the range. Limited range is a hassle to many drivers. It becomes even worse considering the fact that the actual range can be different under different driving conditions or at different environment temperatures. On other words, the actual range can be lower on highway or in winter than what you would expect.

An apparent way is to go with plug-in hybrid. After the battery is depleted to a low level, a plug-in hybrid starts to run on a hybrid mode (that is, engine plus battery) for longer distance. BTW, the current low gas prices can make the driving cost of a hybrid car comparable to that of an electric car.

Another solution is the on-going construction of DC fast-charging network. You stop to charge the car to about 80% in 30 minutes and then drive on. How well drivers can accept this solution would largely depend on the network coverage as well as the improvement on charging speed.

Moreover, affordable 200-mile electric cars are on the way to the dealers. Chevy Bolt will come out near the end of the year, followed by Tesla Model 3 and next-generation VW e-Golf. They will partly lift the range anxiety with the electric cars and be a good opinion for one to buy/lease.

Why Carmakers Sell Electric Cars

It seems like the majority of carmakers have big plans on electric cars and many have started to sell them – Over 200,000 Nissan LEAF have been sold so far, Tesla will announce Model 3 (with three horizontal bars to represent it) and complete its “SEX” lineup, BMW launched its i Series brand and GM will start to deliver world’s first mass-produced 200-mile Chevy Bolt electric car. The electric car sales in the US as well as China passed 1% of total car sales in 2015.

(i3 fleet ready for shipping. Credit: BMW)
(i3 fleet ready for shipping. Credit: BMW)
(GM Chevrolet Volt and Bolt at 2016 Chicago Auto Show. © General Motors.)
(GM Chevrolet Volt and Bolt at 2016 Chicago Auto Show. © General Motors.)

Electric cars still have obvious limitations at the moment.

Firstly, cost is high. The major add-on cost is from the battery pack. For example, Chevy Bolt is equipped with a 60 kWh pack and unit cost can be $300/kWh. So the battery cost is already at $18,000. The MSRP is $37,500. Therefore, the battery cost would account for 48% of car price.

Secondly, there is concern about the possibly fast depreciation of the car over time. As a result, 75% of electric car buyers chose to lease the car in 2015.

Thirdly, range anxiety. Although most people drive less than 100 miles a day, simply the idea of a total range of 100 miles can freak them out. In this regard, affordable 200-mile Bolt and Model 3 can potentially make a big impact on the market. Plug-in hybrid is another valid option.

In addition, there are things like slow charging, hot/cold weather conditions, safety etc.

Then why are carmakers still so enthusiastic about electric cars?

The biggest driver for boosting electric car sales comes from the government. They are committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One highlight is the recent Paris Climate Deal.

There are two major approach governments take when it comes to the adoption of electric cars – restraining and promoting. Especially in large car markets like US and China, carmakers have to follow government rules for them to do business there.

In terms of restraining, e.g., US has an emission credit system. Carmakers selling vehicles in the US need to turn in a certain number of credits to the government annually. They earn credits by selling electric cars. If one company cannot sell enough electric cars, they either need to pay a high penalty for the difference, or buy credits from other companies. Therefore, some brands are willing to sell electric cars at a loss to collect emission credits. Reportedly, Fiat Chrysler spent over $300 million in 2014 to purchase credits from Toyota, Honda and Tesla.

In China, by 2020, a car company’s average fuel economy needs to reach 47 mpg. Electric cars are very helpful in this regard. For one thing, electric cars have much better fuel economy than conventional cars. On top of that, each electric car is counted as three in the fleet average fuel economy calculation right now.

The regulations in some areas can be a bit too stringent for carmakers to stay profitable and competitive. One unfortunate example would be the recent VW diesel emission scandal.

So, in the case of electric cars, governments are helping selling them as well. Many countries have incentive programs. US offers up to $7,500 tax credit to electric car buyers (Please see our previous post on What You Can Get From Government for Getting an Electric Car in California). Ontario of Canada has rebate program with a maximum of $13,000. Germany plans to use $705 million to promote electric car sales.

Governments are also backing the construction of charging infrastructures. California has the plan support the charging of 1 million electric cars by 2020. Most recently, the state issued $4 million grant to build charging stations along its north-south corridors.

Things About Faraday Future Concept Electric Car’s 1,000 Horsepower

The startup company Faraday Future unveiled its concept electric car FFZero1 during CES 2016 in January. Regarding the powertrain, there are four Quad Core Motors outputting >1,000 HP, resulting in 0-60 mph acceleration within 3 seconds and a top speed over 200 mph.

The specs will put FFZeor1 in the 1,000-HP supercar club, which is all about power and speed. Carbuzz.com listed a Top 5 of such cars.

That list included Agera R with 1,100 HP from a twin-turbo 5L V8 engine, 0-62 mph acceleration in 2.9 seconds and a top speed over 245 mph. There is Zenvo ST1 with 1,100 HP from a twincharged 7L V8 engine, 0-62 mph acceleration in 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 233 mph limited electronically. There is Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse convertible with 1,200 HP from a 7.9L W16 engine with 4 enlarged trubochargers, 0-62 mph acceleration in 2.4 seconds and a top speed of 255 mph. There is Hennessey Venom GT with 1,200 HP from a 7L twin-turbo V8 engine, 0-60 mph acceleration in 2.7 seconds and a top speed of 278 mph. There is SSC Ultimate Aero with 1,287 HP from a 6.3L twin-turbo V8 engine, 0-60 mph acceleration in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 256 mph.

Interestingly, it was reported that another company Techrules will show a concept electric car powered by a battery pack and a turbine at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show. The total power is 1,030 HP and the car can go 1,242 miles on a charge.

Talking about speed, Formula One cars can do 0-62 mph acceleration in 1.7 seconds! We may see the return of 1,000 HP engines to the race in the next years. NASCAR cars are pretty fast too. They can top 200 mph with V8 naturally aspirated engines outputting 850 HP. Starting from 2015 Sprint Cup Series, the power is reduced to 725 HP.

Formula E is the electric version of Formula One. The open-wheel electric cars are equipped with 28 kWh battery packs. The maximum power is 270 HP. The 0-62 mph acceleration takes 3 seconds and the top speed is 140 mph.

Regarding 0-60 mph acceleration in <3 seconds, the all-electric Tesla Model S P85D can do that as well – 2.8 seconds. The power of the car is 691 HP. The battery pack is 85 kWh. So the pulse discharge current is 6C (or the power-to-energy ratio is 6). Considering it is a full-size sedan weighted at 2,190 kg, the acceleration is really impressive.

FFZero1’s 1,000 HP is roughly 50% increase from the 691 HP of Model S P85D, which means the weight of the battery pack can be over three quarters of a ton, 50% heavier than Models S P85D battery pack. This huge mass may not be favorable to a supercar, so a better-performing battery technology certainly will help.

It is interesting to note that SSC in 2009 planned to build an electric car version of Ultimate Aero with 1,000 HP from twin electric motors, 0-60 mph acceleration in 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 208 mph. However, the model never went into production. Can it be good timing to give it another try soon?

Summary on Electric Vehicles at 2016 Detroit Auto Show

The official name for the Detroit Auto Show is North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), one of the largest auto shows in the world. The auto show is more than 100 years old. This year, it took place from Jan 11 to Jan 24. President Obama paid a visit to the event and took the driver’s seat in a Chevrolet Bolt electric car.

(President Obama in Chevy Bolt at 2016 Detroit Auto Show. © General Motors.)
(President Obama in Chevy Bolt at 2016 Detroit Auto Show. © General Motors.)

Let us take a look at the electric vehicles at the auto show.

The Chevy Bolt for sure is one of them. It is an exciting 200-mile mass-produced all-electric car ($37,500 before incentives). The production will start around October this year and it will start delivery towards the end of the year.

2017 Ford Fusion Energi, the plug-in hybrid version, was also on display. The electro-range will remain at 19 miles and the MSRP starts at $33,995. The software will be upgraded to give drivers a better experience.

 

(2016 Ford Fusion Energi. Credit: Ford)
(2016 Ford Fusion Energi. Credit: Ford)

The above 2 cars were previously presented at CES 2016. Please see more details on our article Summary on Electric Vehicles at CES 2016.

Another exciting car is 2017 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan. This car should be the first of the kind. A battery pack of 16.4 kWh is on board, which means the buyers will be eligible for the full amount of $7,500 Federal Tax Credit for electric cars. The electro-range is 30 miles. Connected to a Level 2 (240V) charger, the minivan can be charged to 100% in 2 hours. A selling point is that the electric mode can enable almost all driving conditions and go up all the way to 120 mph.

It was reported that Fiat Chrysler has invested Canadian $3.7 billion (or US $2.7 billion) on this project. The model will be manufactured in Ontario, Canada and enter the market in Oct 2016. A nice move for a company that was a bit quieter on making electric cars.

VW showed a concept Tiguan GTE plug-in hybrid SUV with an EPA electro-range of 20 miles. The battery size is 12.4 kWh.

Mercedes-Benz also revealed at the auto show that 4 all-electric models will roll out around 2018. They will be built on the company’s electric vehicle architecture (EVA) and run 400-500 kilometers.

(Mercedes-Benz IAA concept. Credit: Daimler)
(Mercedes-Benz IAA concept. Credit: Daimler)

At the event, 2 hydrogen fuel cell cars made their debut as well.

One is Audi Q8 h-tron concept SUV. The car can run for more than 350 miles (NEDC cycle) on 6 kg of hydrogen. There is a 1.8 kWh battery pack onboard for a hybrid mode. A total of 282 horsepower makes 0-60 mph acceleration less than 7 seconds.

The second one is Lexus LF-LC concept. Toyota plans to produce a fuel cell vehicle in the Lexus lineup around 2020. Its first fuel cell car Mirai started to sell in Japan in 2014 and entered the US in 2015.

Regarding the progress on EV batteries, Samsung SDI exhibited a “low height pack” that can support a range of 600 km form the current 500 km. (Please see our article Looking forward to the Samsung Lithium-ion Battery Enabling 600 km Range)

This year, Truck/Utility of the Year Award went to Volvo XC90. There is a plug-in hybrid version on sale already – 2016 XC90 T8. The EPA electro-range is 40 miles with a 9.2 kWh battery pack. The MSRP is $68,100. 0-60 mph acceleration takes only 5.3 seconds. Volvo expects to build a EV based on the 40 series by 2019.

Recently, other auto shows like Auto Expo, Washington Auto Show, Chicago Auto Show, Canadian International Auto Show took place as well. Our next coverage will be on Geneva Auto Show.

Debate on Issuing More Green HOV Lane Decals in California

Before Dec. 18, 2015, when people bought plug-in hybrid electric cars (PHEV) in California, they could apply for a green HOV lane decal and enjoy driving in the carpool lane without having to drag another person on board. Now this perk is somehow in jeopardy for new PHEV buyers, as all 85,000 decals are gone. DMV is still accepting new applications, but at the moment it is unclear if more decals will be issued or not.

(Morning commute in California. The left lane is the HOV lane.)
(Morning commute in California. The left lane is the HOV lane.)

The increase in the green decal limit has happened 3 times in the past. Originally, in Jan. 1, 2011, 40,000 decals were authorized. Three and half years later on Jul. 1, 2014, the limit was increased by 15,000, which brought the total to 55,000. Half a year later on Jan. 1, 2015, another 15,000 were added. And again after half a year, on Jul. 1, 2015, the most recent 15,000 were added to reach a new total of 85,000.  These decals are good until Jan. 1, 2019.

The question is: Should California consider issuing more green decals?

On one hand, the EV sales have not seen a sign of taking off yet. According to the data published by Electric Drive Transportation Association, 114,022 PHEV and EV were sold nationwide in 2015, down from 118,773 in 2014, although all vehicle sales rose by 5.8% in 2015.  Another piece of evidence is that it took longer time to use up the green decals in 2015 than in 2014.

Although all-electric cars have unlimited white decals to use the carpool lane, the range anxiety makes PHEV an appealing option to many green car lovers. And carpool lane access definitely is a plus in decision making. President Obama’s 1 million EV goal by 2015 was only 40% accomplished, but we can make effort on the 1.5 million goal for California by 2025.

In year 2007 when California decided to cap the yellow HOV decals for regular hybrid cars at 85,000, 91,417 of them were sold in the state. In comparison, the PHEV sales in 2015 in California can be just one third of that number. Plus, oil prices dropped to 11 year low recently and may stay low for a decade as predicted by Vitol CEO Ian Taylor.  In this regard, there is still a need to promote PHEV sales and green decals for sure will be helpful.

On the other hand, the pressure on HOV lane capacity needs to take into consideration. When the 85,000 yellow HOV decals were terminated on Jul. 1, 2011, there were probably less than 4,000 all-electric cars on the road. Now, besides 85,000 PHEVs, there should be a similar number of EVs which can use the carpool lane as well.

Another option would be to issue new green decals only to PHEVs capable of e.g. 60 miles or plus on electric. For one thing, these PHEVs will run on battery mode for most of the time (hopefully), so they are closer to zero-emission than PHEVs with a small battery. For another thing, PHEV technologies are becoming mature. On this note, BMW is adding PHEV versions to all of its core-brand models in the next few years (Please see our article Things About BMW i3 and More) and Mercedes-Benz will roll out 10 PHEV models by 2017.

The previous increases of the limit occurred in roughly 2 months after the limit was reached. The 40,000 limit was reached on May 9, 2014 and the increase followed on Jul. 1, 2014. The 55,000 limit was reached on Sept. 23, 2014 and an increase was made on Jan. 1, 2015. The 70,000 limit was reached around mid-May, 2015, which was followed by an increase on Jul. 1, 2015.

So it would be too much of a rush to have passed a bill on Jan. 1, 2016, considering the limit of 85,000 had not been reached until Dec. 18, 2015. Last time, AB 95 was approved on Jun. 15 by the Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into effect on Jul. 1. However, if it is urgent enough, a new bill can take effect right after authorization.

Guess Which Metropolitan Area Could Outpace the Whole California on Electric Car Sales

California is well known as one of the most important markets for electric cars, partly thanks to the generous government incentives (Please see our articles on What You Can Get From Government for Getting an Electric Car in California – Part 1 and Part 2). According to Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative, in January 2016, California accounts for roughly 55% of electric cars sold in the US, or 3,692 units for California. In December 2015, California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) received 4,921 applications for buying electric cars, which is 37% of electric car sales in the US (13,403 units). Also, from 2011 to present, total electric car sales in California is 184,657, or 45% of national total sales.

For December 2015, let us also use the high 55% of the national total sales to estimate the electric car sales in California. As mentioned earlier, in December 2015, 13,403 electric cars were sold in the US. 55% of those for California would be 7,371 units.

Ok, now, 11,063 electric cars were added in California in the Dec 2015-Jan 2016 period.

During a similar 2-month period, 16,050 potential buyers applied for the eligibility on electric car registration in Beijing.

According to the notice from Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport on Feb. 9, 13,692 individuals and 2,358 business entities applied for the vehicle registration plate in the new energy vehicle category, during the 2-month window (Dec. 9 to Feb. 8). Most of them will receive the eligibility to buy and register an electric vehicle.

Beijing is limiting the annual number of car registrations for many years, as the metropolitan fights traffic jam and smog. In 2016, the total number of car registrations is limited to 150 thousand, in which 60 thousand are for new energy vehicles (51 thousand for individuals, 3 thousand for business entities and 6 thousand for rental). As we can tell from the numbers, Beijing is pushing very hard to promote electric cars.

(Beijing on a smoggy day)
(Beijing in early afternoon on a smoggy day)

Besides the high ratio of new energy vehicle registrations available, electric car applicants can receive the eligibility on a first-come-first serve basis. On the contrary, regular car applicants have to do lottery and a lot of them have been waiting for years. Imagine this: There are only 13,500 registrations available for individuals every 2 month this year, but there are 2,616,972 applications. That is 1 in 194!

Moreover, new energy cars in Beijing can use the bus lane (like the carpool lane in the US) and are not subjected to plate number policy (Beijing allows only cars with certain last digits on the plate to drive each day – another approach to deal with the traffic jam).

With 16,050 applicants for electric car registration, the 60 thousand limit for the year will be reached far before the year ends.

China has become the top country for new energy vehicle sales. In 2015, 331,092 units were sold, a 330% increase from the year before.  On the other hand, only 114,022 all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold in the US, in 2015.  This number is even lower than the 118,773 units sold in 2014.

Also, 21.1 million cars were sold in China in 2015, as compared to 17.4 million in the US. China has been world’s top car market for 7 years in a row.

What You Can Get From Government for Getting an Electric Car in California – Part 2

Government is trying to promote electric cars. In Part 1, we looked at the Federal Tax Credit. In this article, things like the Clean Vehicle Rebate incentive, the HOV Lane Access incentive, charging infrastructure goal and news on out-of-state buyers will be covered.

Clean Vehicle Rebate. For now, you can receive $2,500 and $1,500 from the state when you buy/lease an all-electric car (EV, like a Tesla) and a plug-in hybrid electric car (PHEV, like a Chevy Volt), respectively. BMW i3 REx (with the range-extender) is eligible for $2,500 instead of $1,500, According to DriveClean.ca.gov.

One note: there does need to be funding available for the program. The program current fiscal year is 2015-2016 (Q3/2015-Q2/2016). As of 1/29, issued and reserved rebates are $31,867,753 (59% of the total fund) and there still is $22,042,247 (41% of the total fund) remaining for this fiscal year, according to the program website . Calendar-wise, we are roughly 58% into this fiscal year, so pretty much on pace to use up the fund by the end of Q2.

Another recent news is that the EV and PHEV rebate program will put an income cap on eligibility for higher-income consumers and increase the rebate for lower-income buyers. The implementation date is expected to be mid-March of this year and will be announced 2 weeks at least ahead on the program website.

The gross annual income cap is $250,000 for single filers, $340,000 for head-of-household filers and $500,000 for joint filers. Incomes exceeding these thresholds will not be eligible for receiving the rebates. On the other hand, if household gross incomes are no more than 300% of the federal poverty level, the buyers will receive $1,500 more than the current numbers after the adjustment.

Details on the future changes can be found at https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/information-fiscal-year-2015-16-income-limit-changes. In addition, the rebate covers fuel cell cars as well.

HOV Lane (Carpool Lane) Access. There are two categories: White Clean Air Vehicles (where EVs belong) and Green Clean Air Vehicles (where PHEVs and BMW i3 REx belong). These cars can apply for decals so they can use carpool lane during morning and afternoon rush hours, even if there is only the driver in the car.

The number of available white decals for EVs is unlimited, while the green decals have already ran out on Dec 18, 2015 (a total of 85 thousand). The number of green decals was increased several times by the State in the past. The DMV currently is still receiving applications right now, but there is no guarantee on additional new green decals.

Charging infrastructure construction. This is critical to the adoption of electric cars. One of California’s zero-emission vehicle goals is by 2020 to build adequate infrastructure for 1 million such vehicles. For example, the Governor announced $120 million settlement back in 2012 to fund 200 fast-charging stations and 10,000 plug-in systems at 1,000 locations. Moreover, in Oct. 2015, the Governor signed a bill to simplify the permitting process on EV charging system installation across the state.

Out-of-state Buyers. It may soon come true for out-of-state customers to stop paying sales tax for buying cars manufactured in California, like from Tesla. The hope is to attract people to come to the state and pick up their new cars in person. The Senate passed the bill on Jan 27 and the Assembly is next.

(Ford Focus Electric. Credit: Ford)
(Ford Focus Electric. Credit: Ford)

To repeat what is in Part 1, you can end up paying less for an electric car and enjoy some privileges. For example, 2016 Chevy Volt PHEV has an MSRP of $33,995, but you can get $9,000 off ($7,500 federal tax credit and $1,500 state rebate). Then the price will be around $25k. As another example, 2016 Ford Focus all-electric car, MSPR is $29,170, but you are eligible for $7,500 tax credit and another $2,500 state rebate. So the out-of-the-pocket price can be below $20k. There are incentive details on more cars on DriveClean.ca.gov . Also please check out our homepage for date on electo-range and fast charging of electric cars.

What You Can Get From Government for Getting an Electric Car in California – Part 1

The high price tag makes the cars less appealing to consumers. There are three major incentives in California: the State’s Clean Vehicle Rebate, the Federal Tax Credit and the HOV Lane Access. Besides, the state is promoting hard to get charging infrastructure ready and sufficient for electric cars.  Also, out-of-state buyers may soon stop paying sales tax here (applies to cars manufactured in the state though, like Tesla).

Let us take a look at the Federal Tax Credit in this article. Other incentives and “perks” will be covered in Part 2.

(2016 Nissan LEAF. Credit: Nissan)
(2016 Nissan LEAF. Credit: Nissan)

Federal Tax Credit. The original registered owner (and in case of leasing, the carmaker) can get up to $7,500 of federal tax credit for an all-electric car (EV, like a Nissan LEAF) or a plug-in hybrid electric car (PHEV, like a Chevy Volt).

The actual amount is related to the size of the battery in the car. According to IRS, the calculation looks like this: the base credit is $2,500; if the battery is 5 kWh, you can get $417 on top ($2,917 in total); if the battery is larger than 5 kWh, you can get another $417 for every kWh (partial kWh counts too) exceeding 5 kWh on top of the $2,917.

For example, if the battery is 6kWh (1kWh exceeding the 5 kWh threshold), you can get $3,334 in total ($2,500+$417+$417); If the battery is 10.5 kWh (5.5kWh exceeding the 5 kWh threshold), you can get $5,210 in total ($2,500+$417+$417*5.5). Moreover, if the battery is at 16 kWh or higher, the federal tax credit will be capped at $7,500.

A few notes:

Firstly, there is a list of 28 qualified carmakers, although it covers all major EV/PHEV manufacturers, on IRS website. Noticeably, Honda and Hyundai currently are not on the list. Honda had 2014 Accord PHEV before and Hyundai just launched 2016 Sonata PHEV (Federal tax credit is tbd, according to driveclean.ca.gov)

Secondly, there is a limit for each carmaker on the total number of qualifying cars. In brief, cumulative 200,000 in the US after 12/31/2009. The current sales numbers are roughly just half way. As one of the top-selling EVs, Nissan LEAF had sold about 88 thousand cumulatively in the US as of November last year.

Thirdly, the tax credit applies to only the federal portion of your tax liability, not to your total liability. You can reduce your federal tax liability dollar-for-dollar by using the tax credit. However, your tax liability cannot be reduced to below zero. Therefore, say the tax credit from buying an electric car is greater than your federal tax liability, you will only be able to use a part of the credit to bring the liability to zero.

Tax credits are different than tax deductions. Tax deductions reduce your taxable income. So you can end up paying less tax with tax credits than with same amount of tax deductions.

Fourthly, only the original registered owner of the car is eligible to the federal tax credit. In case of buying a new car, make sure you are the original owner, not the dealer. In case of leasing a new car, the carmaker is the original owner and they get to claim the tax credit. Usually the lease price will be lowered as a result. In case of buying a used car, no tax credit eligibility anymore, even if the original owner did not claim the credit.

In summary, if you take into consideration this Federal Tax Credit and the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate (will be discussed in Part 2), you can end up paying (much) less for an electric car. For example, 2016 Chevy Volt PHEV has an MSRP of $33,995, but you can get $9,000 off ($7,500 federal tax credit and $1,500 state rebate). Then the price will be around $25k. As another example, 2016 Ford Focus all-electric car, MSPR is $29,170, but you are eligible for $7,500 tax credit and another $2,500 state rebate. So the out-of-the-pocket price can be below $20k. There are incentive details on more cars on DriveClean.ca.gov. Also please check out our homepage for date on electo-range and fast charging of electric cars.