Automakers Trying to Stop GOP From Killing EV Tax Credit

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
automakers trying to stop gop from killing ev tax credit

As reported last week, House and Senate Republicans have proposed sweeping tax reforms that would, by extension, kill the EV tax credit if the bill passes into law. Automakers have already expressed their distaste on the matter, and now they’re beginning to mobilize to keep it from becoming a reality. With electric vehicles just beginning to gain traction, and numerous manufacturers banking on the platform in the years to come, losing the credit would undoubtedly harm sales.

The Electric Drive Transportation Association, a group representing automakers, suppliers, technology firms, and energy concerns, says it will collaborate with its members and their shareholders to ensure the credit persists under the proposed GOP reform. Genevieve Cullen, the association’s president, claims the group will pull out all the stops to ensure the Senate sees things their way.

“If the whole underpinning of tax reform is to promote jobs, investment and innovation, the credit is doing exactly that,” she said in an interview with Automotive News, highlighting that more than 215,000 people are employed in EV development.

Her fear, and the concerns surrounding those she represents, are that the United States would lose its innovative might to China and Europe — both of which are progressing into electrification at a more accelerated rate. By abolishing the tax credit in the U.S. she believes consumers will have less reason to purchase EVs, crippling a burgeoning segment within the industry that’s been hoisted up by Wall Street.

In October, General Motors announced plans to launch over 20 new all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell units by 2023, including two in the next 18 months, as part of its global push in the zero-emission field. Volkswagen Group plans to introduce 30 new EVs, split between VW and Audi, by 2025 — accounting for nearly a quarter of its fleet. Ford wants to put 13 electrified vehicles on the market within the next five years. Obviously, those companies don’t mind having a leg up, and having the government incentivize those vehicles is a big help.

“Nissan has made significant investments in the development of market-leading electric vehicles and public charging infrastructure to support EV drivers,” Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman said in a statement. “We support continuing measures that help encourage greater adoption of EVs given the benefits they can provide such as lowering vehicle emissions and reducing America’s dependency on foreign energy sources.”

“Tax credits are an important customer benefit that can help accelerate the acceptance of electric vehicles. Because General Motors believes in an all-electric future, we will work with Congress to explore ways to maintain this incentive,” GM said in a release.

Still, automakers don’t really have to explore the best way to save the tax credit. Those companies already know lobbyists will be key in breaking into the cold and fickle hearts of lawmakers. Industry representatives are expected to swarm on congress all week, hoping to protect their respective interests and curry congressional favor.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

Join the conversation
4 of 51 comments
  • Mcs Mcs on Nov 07, 2017

    Wait until the Saudis and the Iranians start blowing the living crap out of each other's oil terminals. No subsidies needed at that point.

  • Caboose Caboose on Nov 07, 2017

    Isn't the downside of being the capitalist in a capitalist system that you undertake the risk? Isn't one of the problems with government subsidies (of anything) that it socializes the risk while privatizing the rewards? I don't dispute the claim that early government investment - particularly from the military - lead to a lot of advances in tech (communications, PCs, robotics, GPS, the Internet). But my understanding is that, once those first big leaps were made, the military investment dried up and the government's role was recast as that of a buyer taking bids. In other words, they moved to being a large customer playing in a competitive market. But with EVs, the big first steps have already been made. So maybe it's time the government's role shifted to that of buyer. There is talk of "leadership". Okay, what if we ended the subsidies but the federal government committed to buying as many EVs as practical and incentivizing States to do likewise. For example, it would cost the Feds $0 to declare to the States, "Y'all need to have your State fleets be, I dunno, 5% EVs by 2023 if you want to keep your highway funds". The feds do that stuff all the time. Taxpayer money would be saved, Big customers with consistent needs over time would be created, and they would buy into a competitive market. My point is that there are ways of accomplishing the social engineering some favor without raking the taxpayers over the coals.

    • See 1 previous
    • FreedMike FreedMike on Nov 07, 2017

      "Isn’t one of the problems with government subsidies (of anything) that it socializes the risk while privatizing the rewards?" That's not a problem - it's an ADVANTAGE. This country is set up so that people and companies can make money. That's the whole point. Government investment or involvement in targeted industries just accelerates the process. And in so doing, it creates jobs and wealth. Generally speaking, that more than pays for whatever the tax investment was.

  • FreedMike I guess it's good to hear they finally made the third row livable - the one on the old RX was a joke - but, man, is this generic-looking.
  • Alan I read the front wheels are driven by the engine and the rear wheels by electric in the hybrid. I also find it odd it isn't offered as the 2.4 hybrid with 250kw on tap.
  • KOKing That base hybrid system must be something other than the normal Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, since that uses the two electric motors as the ('CVT') transmission without a separate transmission of any kind.
  • Analoggrotto Too much of the exterior is shared with the Grand Highlander. Toyota/Lexus is clearly over extended here as this was rushed in direct response to the Kia Telluride which has decimated RX sales. Lexus was not such a major offender of just changing the front and rear end caps on a lesser Toyota model (this worked for LX / Land Cruiser as the latter is already expensive) but for such a mass market vehicle, buyers will notice and may just go to Toyota (or Kia) for their big SUV.
  • Crtfour I'm a BOF SUV fan. In my opinion it's certainly not a looker (but what is these days). But it does look the part and should be great off road. Plus kudos to Toyota for retaining actual shift levers. So I give it a thumbs up.