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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Crackpot conservatives are trying to end tax break for buyers of Tesla, other EVs

FREE JUICE: I was able to plug in my 2015 Tesla Model S at the Municipal Garage in Englewood while I was watching the annual Memorial Day Parade. There is no parking fee on Sundays and holidays. Two other Teslas and a BMW i3 were plugged in nearby.

And Audi's new all-electric SUV --
'e-tron' -- means 'shit' in French


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- The $7,500 federal tax credit for Tesla and Chevrolet buyers is being phased out now that both companies have produced more than 200,000 all-electric vehicles.

But the Driving America Forward Act, introduced by a group of bipartisan lawmakers in Congress, would allow buyers of an additional 400,000 vehicles per manufacturer to claim a $7,000 tax credit.

And consumers would be eligible for the $7,000 credit through the calendar quarter after the 600,000th vehicle is sold.

The bill maintains the $7,500 tax credits for the first 200,000 units sold.

Climate change

The Driving America Forward Act also would extend the hydrogen fuel credit for 10 years through 2028.

"At a time when climate change is having a real effect on Michigan, today's legislation is something we can do now to reduce emissions and combat carbon pollution," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, said, adding:

"Our bill will help create American jobs and cement Michigan's status as an advanced manufacturing hub."

Tax credit

As you know if you own an electric car, the tax credit doesn't lower the initial cost, but allows you to take the full $7,500, if you owe that much or more in federal taxes in the year following the purchase. 

In New Jersey, where I live, there is no sales tax on EVs, so I saved more than $5,600 right away on my purchase of a Tesla Model S in 2015.

And in states with incentives for the purchase of an electric car, those are applied right away.

For example, a friend who lives in San Francisco just leased a 2019 Kia Niro EV.

He is getting $800 from the electric company, lower rates for electricity from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and $2,500 from the state of California.

The $7,500 tax credit goes to the dealer, but would revert to my friend, if he buys the EV at the end of his lease, and be deducted from the price he pays.

Opposition

One crackpot conservative, Phil Kerpen, says he's opposed to extending "electric vehicle subsidies"  [federal tax credits] because they purportedly "use environmental delusion as a cover for a wealth transfer from poor and middle-income Americans to the rich, who buy electric hobby cars as their third or fourth vehicle."

Boy, is he wrong.

Kerpen is president of American Commitment, which is "dedicated to restoring the American commitment to free markets ... constitutionally limited government, property rights and individual freedom."

Chinese EVs?

And Anton Wahlman of The Street claims in a bogus online story "there's nothing [in the Driving America Forward Act] to stop 487 Chinese electric-car makers from each claiming some $4.3 billion in American tax breaks."

What nonsense.

Chinese EVs? Have you ever seen one in the United States? Do they have a dealer network anywhere in the country? 

Tesla makes the most popular, sophisticated and stylish electric vehicles on sale in China, and the California-based EV maker is building a factory in Shanghai.


UNEXCITING: In this photo from Audi, the e-tron resembles many of the SUVs already on the road. The base price is $74,800.

Audi e-tron

When Audi first showed its all-electric e-tron concept at auto shows in 2010, the car was a swoopy 2-door GT.

Nearly a decade later, the German carmaker finally is taking $1,000 deposits on a new all-electric SUV, but for some reason has stuck with the e-tron name, which means "crap" in French.

(Why e-tron is lower case is beyond me, and mocks all the rules of capitalization.)

This EV looks like all the other SUVs on the road.

And I find Audi's TV ads just plain stupid, playing as they do on all of the long-disproven stereotypes of all-electric cars and their owners. 

AutoBlog had this to say way back in 2010:

"√Čtron, in French, is apparently not a word that signifies electric power, sex appeal or innovation. It is, in fact, a word that's closely associated with the less-than-glamorous act of excretion. If you hit up any one of the numerous online translation tools, you'll learn that √©tron has some pretty... crappy synonyms, which include words like "caca," "excrement," "dung" and "feces."
"Unfortunately, Audi may have inadvertently named its entire lineup of EVs after a bodily function that's seldom associated with spectacular vehicles. That is, unless the automaker intended that we translate e-tron as, 'the Audi that's as fast as, well, you know.'"

France and Germany were mortal enemies for many decades, but it looks like the French are having the last laugh.

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