BREAKING: Electric Car Charging Station Tax Credit Extended, But at Lower 30% Pre-Stimulus Levels
After PluginCars.com broke the story earlier this week that the lucrative federal tax credit for installing electric car charging stations had been snuck into the controversial Bush-era tax cut extension bill at the last minute, it was only a matter of playing the waiting game to see if it made it all the way through to passage. As of late last night, the bill has passed both the House and Senate with the charging station credits intact and reportedly will be signed into law by President Obama this afternoon. The language in the bill extends the tax credit through December 31, 2011.
It's a bit of a bittersweet victory for plug-in car advocates however, as the tax credit will be extended at pre-stimulus levels—meaning a credit for 30% of the purchase and installation costs of the charging equipment, up to $1,000 for individuals and $30,000 for businesses. While this is great news, it's much lower than the 50% (up to $2,000 for individuals and $50,000 for businesses) that it had been for all of 2010.
"We applaud the Obama the Administration and Congress for passing this bill and we think this is going to have a large impact on our industry in making the cost of installing these charging stations a lot more reasonable to consumers," said Colin Read, ECOtality's VP of Business Development in an interview with PluginCars.com. "It makes sense for them to extend the tax credit. It's hard to have a tax credit when there are no cars and no one is using it and be able to say that it was effective or not. By extending the tax credit, it opens it up to the broader market of people that are actually going to be purchasing and using these cars in 2011." ECOtality is the manager of the public-private EV Project, which will use $250 million in both federal funds and private investment (50/50) to install nearly 15,000 charging stations in six initial launch states by Fall of 2011.
As for the reduction in the tax credit amount from 50% to 30%, Read does not view it as a major issue. "The purpose of the EV Project is to identify commercially viable and sustainable business models," he said. "This industry as a whole cannot be purely dependent on federal incentives and federal funds—or even state funds. So this is going to be a great way of jump starting our industry, but eventually this may be something that we don't need. For right now we think that this is really important for getting the industry on its feet and for creating a robust commercial environment for consumers to feel comfortable purchasing one of these EVs and charging their car both at home and at commercial locations."
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