By on May 5, 2014

2014 Honda Fit EV

EV and PHEV owners in California and Maryland will be able to enjoy credits for the foreseeable future for going green, while one representative in Congress wants to up federal tax credits to $10,000.

Autoblog Green reports the success of the California Air Resources Board’s credit program has resulted in a funding expansion of $25 million through the end of the state’s fiscal year in late June. Those seeking rebates on their EV or plug-in purchases will be put on a list, and should receive either their $2,500 EV or $1,500 PHEV credit by the end of September.

Over in Maryland, a provisional bill awaiting Governor Martin O’Malley’s signature will extend the state’s credit program for three years through the end of June 2017. In addition, the maximum credit offered will be increased to $3,000 from $1,000 for PHEV owners.

Finally, U.S. Representative Peter Welch of Vermont is preparing to propose legislation that would boost the federal tax credit from $7,500 to $10,000, which he believes will also make owning an EV more affordable to middle-income consumers. Welch will introduce the legislation upon return to Congress.

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23 Comments on “CA, MD Extend EV/PHEV Credit Programs, Federal Credit Increase May Follow...”

  • avatar

    Ok I’ll cast the first stone… I think a minimum wage increase would have done a hell of a lot more good.

    In this day when 40MPG can be reached with a plain-jane engine, nobody needs to be financially rewarded to buy a car.

    I sure wish taxpayers had some say in how their money was spent. Ugh.

    • 0 avatar

      On the consumer side of things, I end to agree. But there has to be some sort of incentive for manufacturers to continue the massive R&D involved until they reach or exceed competitive parity with traditional IC vehicles. Direct subsidies have a mixed record, at best.

    • 0 avatar

      Except that the minimum wage is paid for by Walmart and McDonalds (and other McJobs) and car subsidies are paid for by taxpayers. Completely separate bills.

      A better question is either state doing anything about how the electric infrastructure is supposed to handle the goal they are trying to achieve? I can’t imagine trying to dump a wad of electrical cars on Pepco (don’t ask about Pepco, just that if you move to DCish parts you want to get power from any other power company). I doubt either state will be building nuke plants any time soon. Haven’t heard about offshore wind farms in MD (both states have plenty of shoreline), presumably that would be the easiest means of less polluting electricity (I’m pretty sure I get my electricity from a honking big coal plant along the C&O canal).

      Finally, $10k (note: pushed not passed)? A gas Elio is said to be $6800, an electric shouldn’t be that much more (just don’t expect it to recharge from braking, at that price you get DC motors). I suspect that the fine print would make this a Volt/Tesla subsidy and avoid a really green solution (for values of “green” that doesn’t involve fixing the infrastructure*, i.e. the hard part of the job).

      * I’ll admit that burning natural gas for electricity certainly makes plenty of sense in the short term, but expect trucks to convert over to it sooner or later and that electricity should use something less easily carried.

      • 0 avatar

        The minimum wage is still a distortion of the market and the cost rests on society as a whole, it’s really not much different than a tax. Note: I am in favor of a substantial minimum wage.

        I don’t know if things have changed much at Periodic Electric Power Company in recent years but their historic problem was meeting summer demand from 1600-2000 or so. When I lived in that area, their demand-shaping was fairly crude: rolling blackouts. I expect it’s still the case that the peak 1600-2000 demand is the big problem. EVs can be encouraged to charge outside peak demand windows, either by education or by time-of-use rates; I would hope PEPCO has an aggressive TOU program in place by now. Many EVs will be on the roads, anyway, during at least part of that peak demand window. I’d be very surprised if PEPCO, or any other electric company, had trouble meeting significant overnight EV demand.

        “A gas Elio…” What gas Elio? That car is still vaporware. I’ve been reading articles about the 60+MPG (or electric) all-weather enclosed commuter trike since the ’70’s and I’ve still never seen one on the road.

        I’d rather get a 250W motor integrated into a decent-quality commuter bicycle (like a Trek 7.something) that was legal on the paths. Less sweating means usable a greater part of the year and no mixing it up in traffic with F-350 duallys. And it would fit into mass transit bike racks and lockers.

        By the way, I’m not an expert on electric motors but some of the bicycle assist motors now available do regen. I would hope an Elio-class EV trike would have the same capability.

        $7500 should be more than enough to push the consumer, if the car is any good. Rather than throw more money into demand, let’s spend more money on basic research. We need new battery technology for a number of reasons and money spent on SPV and other technologies wouldn’t hurt, either.

        • 0 avatar

          On regen: the copenhagen wheel (not yet shipping, $800/350W) claims to do regen. A quick google of competing wheels are much cheaper and higher power, but list things like “brushless DC motors*” or don’t talk about regen. For something like a bicycle, I’d assume regenerative braking as nearly necessary (I want all the help up hills I can get, and can easily send some power otherwise lost to aero going down a hill). For a cheap electric car, I wouldn’t worry so much.

          * DC motor controllers aren’t the simplest beasts around. Regenerative DC motor controls are wildly more complicated. Don’t count on one designed by kickstarter to have regen.

          The Elio example was more to show how such a law would fail and get rewritten by the car makers as pork (normally I’d assume that it was intended as pork all along, but didn’t know if Volts or Teslas did much business in Vermont).

          • 0 avatar

            wumpus: “For something like a bicycle, I’d assume regenerative braking as nearly necessary (I want all the help up hills I can get, and can easily send some power otherwise lost to aero going down a hill).”

            My thinking exactly. I’m willing to hold my speed down downhill if it means more help, in the long run, uphill.

            I can’t recall where I’d previously seen regen claimed as a capability but a quick Google brings up “” as offering one.

            I don’t know how much effectiveness you get out of it… if it regens at 250W or whatever, I’m not sure if that’s a lot of braking or not. I also pack a lot of kinetic punch going donwhill, as I am not light. :)

            Effective regen in an EV would be valuable, though, as it would increase the range on a city cycle, with lots of stop-and-go, by quite a bit. Maximizes advertisable range without having to increase the size of the battery. Unless regen-capable hardware is very expensive, it would likely be a win.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        “Except that the minimum wage is paid for by Walmart and McDonalds (and other McJobs)”


        It’s paid for by Walmart and McDonald’s _customers_, either through higher prices, poorer service, or ‘hedonic adjustment’.

        Also, all corporate taxes are paid by customers, employees or shareholders, not corporations.

        • 0 avatar

          That’s true. Assuming that Walmart passed the entire cost of raising its employees’ salaries to pay a living wage, it would have to raise its prices by (roughly) 1.4%.

  • avatar

    Going Green with electric vehicles and huge tax credits…actually, there’s a book about it: “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”.

    • 0 avatar

      There is also a book about what happens when countries get dependent on oil imports from countries they don’t trust. It’s called The History of World War 2.

      $10K sounds cheap to me in comparison.

      • 0 avatar

        This comparison is bad, as during WW2 Germany mostly got rid of oil (and turned to synthetic fuels instead), which was part of the process of militarization that lead to the war.

        • 0 avatar

          Then what was Ploesti all about?

        • 0 avatar

          Germany’s attempts to turn coal into oil were not economically viable, let alone sustainable. And they knew it, hence the attack on Russia, to gain access to oil in the Caucasus, as well as the attacks focused on the Middle East and Northern Africa.

          Similarly, Pearl Harbor and the rest of the Japanese attacks on that infamous day in 1941 were in large part the result of the American embargo on exporting oil to Japan.

          If you don’t choose to believe these facts, then just look at more recent history of the US. Do you really believe the first Gulf War was the result of our intent to defend the ‘democracy’ of Kuwait?

          And remember, we are in Afghanistan as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Which you may recall were executed by Al Queda to drive US troops out of their holy land in the Gulf.

          I am not suggesting we give in to terrorist demands, but I do suggest that being energy sufficient is in our best interests.

          • 0 avatar

            “Germany’s attempts to turn coal into oil were not economically viable”

            I never said that being self sufficient from oil is economically viable. I said the process of independence from oil led to war.

            The 10k subsidy for green cars for the rich isn’t sustainable and economically viable either. And if the US ever become energy self sufficient, I doubt it will prevent any war. On the opposite, there will be more wars.

          • 0 avatar

            How is Germany’s turning coal into oil not being economically viable different than any of the subsidized panaceas of alternative energy being sold today? If we want energy independence, the answer is drilling our known reserves for the foreseeable future. Oddly, the people talking about energy independence often block such efforts. Perhaps they’re not being honest about being interested in energy independence.

          • 0 avatar

            +1 CJ. They also oppose nuclear power, which is effectively unlimited.

          • 0 avatar


            Look at a night satellite photo of North Dakota. It’s so bright that it looks like the Eastern seaboard. But it’s not electric lights, it’s gas flaring.

            Never mind the fact that fracking requires increasingly scarce fresh water and does we-know-not-what to the existing groundwater and even has the minor side-effect of causing earthquakes, we’re drilling holes in North Dakota and simply burning off valuable natural gas wholesale.

            What kind of sensible energy policy leads to pure, unadulterated waste of a valuable and irreplaceable natural resource?


            Who is this “they” to whom you refer? Plenty of people concerned about burning fossil fuels for one reason or another are perfectly willing to make a deal with the devil for additional nuclear capacity. But they aren’t giving that agreement away for free. Nukes have huge inherent risks and costs and what the nuclear industry wants isn’t permission, it’s subsidies and limits on liability.

            Nukes are out of favor mostly because they’re expensive, not because greenies oppose them. And many environmentally-oriented people aren’t willing to subsidize nukes unless they get more naturally renewable energy for their agreement. That’s fair.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          And Japan?

  • avatar

    It’s already more than double what was offered for hybrids from 2006-2010 and it’s not moving anywhere near the same number of cars.

    What’s needed isn’t a bigger tax credit, what’s needed is a better car.

    • 0 avatar

      Good point, KixStart. And if automakers see that subsidies for EV/PHEV are large and sustained, they will see it as a more profitable market, meaning they will pour more R&D into AV/PHEV, leading to better cars.

  • avatar

    Keeping turning the crank on the “green jobs” perpetual motion machine. The government subsidizes the development of products that no one really wants to buy — unless they are bribed with still more subsidies.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Just one more effort by O’Malley to turn Maryland into the “California of the East.” Actually, a lot of Maryland is supplied by Baltimore Gas and Electric, which runs a nuke plant on the Cheaspeake Bay, a few miles north of the CNG terminal which was built in 1980 to import CNG and that folks now want to convert into an expert terminal.

    When I lived in the Maryland suburbs in the early 1990s, big residential users (I was one) were put on time-of-day pricing, so that’s nothing new.

    But, isn’t it the case that these subsidies — although nominally to the purchasers of EVs — are really to folks who sell them? After all, if the net price of an EV to the first purchaser is reduced by, say, $3,000, doesn’t that knock the resale price down by an equal amount, since the second purchaser doesn’t get the credit?

    So, it’s just another subsidy to Nissan, or Ford or Tesla or whomever builds these things, dressed up to look like a “consumer benefit.”

  • avatar

    This is why CA is effed up. CA is giving away taxpayer dollars to fund someone’s bad choice in automobiles.

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