Pricier Chevrolet Bolt, Volt Loom as GM Nears Tax Credit Threshold

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
pricier chevrolet bolt volt loom as gm nears tax credit threshold

It looks like General Motors won’t enjoy its tax incentive advantage over Tesla for all that long. The maker of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Volt plug-in hybrid (“extended-range EV,” in GM parlance) told Green Car Reports it will pass the 200,000-unit green vehicle threshold this quarter, meaning a halved federal tax credit for those vehicles starting in April of next year.

No longer will the base Bolt sticker for under $30,000 after factoring in the $7,500 credit.

Tesla surpassed the 200,000-vehicle marker in July, with its full-sized federal incentives due for a chop on January 1st. Starting two quarters after the quarter in which an automaker passes the mark, green vehicle buyers can only apply for 50 percent of the full credit. Two quarters after that, the credit is halved again, disappearing two quarters after that point.

For the Bolt, which starts at $37,495 (including destination) in LT guise, the available federal incentive drops to $3,750 on April 1st, then $1,875 starting in October. Both the Bolt and the long-legged Volt qualify for the largest incentive. The 2019 Volt, which boasts a faster charging time, stickers for $33,520 before destination.

Interestingly, buyers of a base Tesla Model 3 outfitted with the “standard” battery — a long-awaited vehicle costing $35,000 that won’t see deliveries until early next year — lose out on the maximum credit.

As Tesla and GM buyers prepare to pay more (dealers might offer their own incentives, of course), Nissan’s sitting pretty. Due to a lack of PHEVs in the Nissan lineup, the brand’s revamped-for-2018 Leaf stands to qualify for the full tax credit for some time. Estimates put the number of qualifying green vehicles sold under the Nissan brand at 125,000.

This factor, combined with the Leaf’s low entry price, could see the vehicle become more appealing to cash-strapped greenies in the coming year. A long-range Leaf variant is expected to show its face in 2019.

[Image: General Motors]

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2 of 21 comments
  • Akear Akear on Nov 01, 2018

    Why is the older Volt outselling the Bolt by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. Could the reason be is that the Bolt has only has 20% US content? I guess patriotism still influences customers buying choices.

  • Alpina Alpina on Nov 06, 2018

    As far as tax credits go, why can I fully deduct a vehicle over 6000 lbs in year one. A certain encouragement to buy big. It's not just EV that gets a tax advantage.

  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.
  • Stuart de Baker Chris! When asked for car advice, I just ask 'em what they want out of a car. And I have my prompts: fun to drive, safety, economy, longevity (I have Consumer Reports annual auto issues going back so I can help people with used cars, too), road trips vs in town, etc, and what sort of body style do they want and why. (If they want an SUV because they think it's safer, I'll suggest they consider large sedans, but if they put major emphasis on safety, I'll check the latest safety stats for whatever cars might satisfy their other desires.
  • Stuart de Baker I don't speak to Jeeps and I don't approve of driving off road, especially in places like Utah where the vegetation won't come back for years.
  • Kanu Actually, I think this makes a certain amount of sense.The average age of light vehicles in operation in the US is now 12.2 years. This means that the typical useful life of a light vehicle is around 25 years.The big virtue of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is that the infotainment system in your car uses the relatively up-to-date technology of your smartphone rather than the vintage technology that existed when your car was built.But the useful life of EVs is nowhere near 25 years. It’s more like 8 years. That’s when the battery needs to be replaced, and that’s when you discover that the price of the new battery is more than the market value of your eight-year-old car with a new battery.So if your EV has built-in infotainment technology, that technology will still be relatively up-to-date when your EV goes to the scrap yard.
  • Deanst I like most things Peugeot recently, along with Skoda wagons and, for practicality’s sake, a Toyota Corolla hybrid wagon. And the Honda e.