Starting Sunday, many Americans will qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 for buying an electric vehicle. The credit, part of changes enacted in the Inflation Reduction Act, is designed to spur EV sales and reduce greenhouse emissions.
But a complex web of require-ments, including where vehicles and batteries must be manufactured to qualify, is casting doubt on whether anvone can receive the full $7,500 credit next year.
For at least the first two months of 2023, though, a delay in the Treasury Department’s rules for the new benefit likely will make the full credit temporarily available to consumers who meet certain income and price limits.
The new law also provides a smaller credit for people who buy a used EV.
Certain EV brands that were eligible for a separate tax credit that began in 2010 and that will end this year may not be eligible for the new credit. Several EV models made by Kia, Hyundai and Audi, for example, won’t qualify at all because they are manufactured outside North Amer-ica.
The new tax credit, which lasts until 2032, is intended to make zero-emission vehicles affordable to more people. The credit of up to $7,500 will be offered to people who buy certain new electric vehicles as well as some plug-in gas-electric hybrids t and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. For people who buy a used vehicle that t runs on battery power, a $4,000 credit will be available. But the question of which vehicles and buyers will qualify for the cred-its is complicated and will remain uncertain until Treasury issues the proposed rules in March.
What’s known so far is that to qualify for the credit, new EVs must be made in North America. In ad-dition, caps on vehicle prices and buyer incomes are intended to disqualify wealthier buyers.
Starting in March, complex provisions also will govern battery com-ponents. Forty percent of battery minerals will have to come from North America or a country with a U.S. free trade agreement or be recycled in North America. (That threshold will eventually go to 80%.) And 50% of the battery parts will have to be made or assembled in North America, eventually rising to 100%.
Starting in 2025, battery minerals cannot come from a “foreign entity of concern.’ mainly China and Russia. Battery parts cannot be sourced in those countries starting in 2024 – a troublesome obstacle for the auto industry because numerOus EV metals and parts now come from China.
There also are battery-size re-quirements.
So which vehicles are eligible? Because of the many remaining uncer-tainties, that’s not entirely clear.
General Motors and Tesla have the most EVs assembled in North America. Each also makes batteries in the U.S. But because of the requirements for where batteries, minerals and parts must be man-ufactured, it’s likely that buyers of those vehicles would initially receive only half the tax credit, $3,750. GM says its eligible EVs should qualify for the $3,750 credit by March, with the full credit available in 2025.
Until Treasury issues its rules, though, the requirements governing where minerals and parts must be sourced will be waived. This will allow eligible buyers to receive the full $7,500 tax incentive for qualifying models early in 2023.
The Energy Department says 29 EV and plug-in models were manufactured in North America in the 2022 and 2023 model years. They’re from Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrys-ler, Ford, GMC, Jeep, Lincoln, Lucid, Nissan, Rivian, Tesla, Volvo, Cadil-lac, Mercedes and Volkswagen. Yet because of price limits or battery-size requirements, not all these vehicle models will qualify for credits.
To qualify, new electric sedans
⁃ cannot have a sticker price higher than $55,000. Pickup trucks, SUVs and vans can’t be more than $80,000.
⁃ This will disqualify two higher-priced Tesla models. Though Teslals top sellers, the models 3 and Y,