U.S. Government to End Electric Charger Tax Breaks

By Jacob Brown | December 27, 2011
Along with the cost of entry into new-fangled electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, there's the additional price of an in-home wall-mounted quick charger system that speeds up the process of adding electrons back into the batteries. They generally cost around $2000, including buying the charger and having it installed in a garage by a team of electricians. But if you're one of the customers who have already purchased the system, you've enjoyed tax breaks of 30 to 50 percent of the cost of the charger up to $1000, making that early adopter price a little easier to swallow. As of Jan. 1, 2012, however, consider that finished. As more automakers roll out electric and plug-in vehicles, the U.S. government will end its incentives program for chargers. According to Tom Saxton of Plug In America—an advocacy group for electric vehicles—the incentive "created a growth opportunity for a new industry." Sears' Duncan McCulloch says the federal rebate "makes a difference to help customers make that decision." The home improvement and department store chain recently got into home installation of electric car chargers. While electric vehicles don't need a home 220-volt quick charger—GM says only 40 percent of its Chevrolet Volt customers use one—using one instead of the standard 110-volt system drastically reduces the time needed to get a car back on the road.
Over the next year, several automakers are planning to introduce more electric vehicles in the U.S. including Tesla, Fisker, Ford, Toyota, California-based Coda. Despite the push to end incentives for electric car chargers, the federal government will continue its rebate of $7,500 for electric vehicles, and a smaller incentive for plug-in hybrids. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy recently granted $7 million to four companies to create a lower-cost car charger than what currently exists, challenging the companies to cut prices in half. Source: USA Today