Chevrolet Volt Tax Incentives and Rebates
To incentivize the adoption of Electric Vehicles like the Volt, the Federal Government as well as many state governments have programs in place to subsidize the high cost of an electric car like the Volt. In this article, I will discuss in detail eligibility for federal and California subsidies. In addition, depending on your electric utility, you can apply for reduced Electricity Rates during off hours for electric car charging. Feel free to jump in if you know more about your state!
If you are thinking about buying a Chevrolet Volt, your eligibility for the $7500 Federal rebate, as well as a potential
$5000 now only $1500 (as of 2012) California Rebate will surely have a significant impact on your purchasing decision. Combined this is as much at $12,500 in government incentives on a car that many expect will MSRP for over $40,000. These rebate programs however are not unlimited in their funding.
Federal Rebate Program
Updated 2/26/2011: Here is an example submission of form 8936
Updated 2/4/2011: You claim this with form 8936 – Plug In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit
Original Post 7/10/2010:
First, we’ll look at the Federal Rebate program. For full details you can visit the federal energy tax credit site for electric vehicles. But I have condensed and summarized the important points below.
- The First 200,000 Chevrolet Volt’s qualify for $7500 in federal tax credits (After which there is a phase out schedule). Given the production volume, if you buy in the first couple of years you’ll be good.
- This credit can be claimed on your tax refund. (If you manage to buy the car in 2010 – and do your taxes early without extension, this would be fastest way to get the federal credit)
- As far as I know – the tax credit is “non-refundable” meaning that if after the credit, you no tax liability for the year, you won’t get the maximum benefit from the credit. Assuming that you have no other deductions but a standard deduction however, this threshold is met with wages of $55,000 / year or more. (Realistically though, you probably need to make at least that much to afford a Volt – and probably more
California Rebate Program
You can now apply for $1500 in purchase rebates. Check out the updated California Chevy Volt Rebates and HOV Lane 2012 Post here.
Update 11/28/2011: GM Announced recently that it will make available a special emissions package for 2012 Model Year Volts. This extra low emissions package will allow the Volt to qualify for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program by achieving the AT-PZEV designation. The original technological challenge for reducing particulate emissions has been overcome. You can order a Volt today with the low emissions package, but be sure to check with your dealer when you order as these models will probably not deliver until March of 2012 or later.
Final details for applying for the expected $1500 rebate are not yet posted for the Chevrolet Volt, but you can check the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program site for updates.
Update 7/15/2010: It looks like the initial release of the Volt will not qualify for any current California subsidies. This is because the emissions package available at Volt launch (and associated certifications) to attain AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology – Partial Zero Emmisions Vehicle) Status will not be in place. Something else may happen, but it looks like Leaf will be getting all the benefit from this!
To Qualify for AT-PZEV, automakers need to pass a battery of certification tests, and also the equipment needed in the Internal Combustion Engines requires more expensive components and time to develop. Seeing as the Volt is a new release vehicle, its unfortunate, but IMO not a bad business decision for GM not to try to cram this in. (Might delay the actual vehicle launch)
On the roadmap, Volt will have an AT-PZEV emissions package by mid 2012, but the credit will have long since been depleted. An E85 version is also in the works.
The California Rebate program is not run out of the FTB (Or Franchise Tax Board) Instead it is run through a program from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The Clean Vehicle Rebate project has $3.75 million in funding for electric car / plug in hybrid rebates. When that fund is depleted, no more rebates! Keep in mind that this fund is shared with all electric cars like the LEAF in California. As of 7/7/2010, about 6% of the program budget is depleted. (The program started in March, 2010). The site does not say yet whether the Volt will classify for a $5,000 rebate for EV’s or a $3,000 rebate for PHEV’s. I’ve contacted them to ask for clarification.
Keep in mind that of the 6% budget depletion has occured in 4 months before mass market vehicles like the Volt or Leaf have hit the market. Currently the only available qualifying vehicles are Teslas, some medium sized commercial trucks, and electric bikes. This is of concern because the budget will deplete much faster than the Federal Rebate – my guess is that it will be all gone fairly quickly given that assuming $3 million is left by November, and the Volt qualfies for $5,000 in credits, that only means 600 Volt/Leaf owners will be able to get the credit – assuming no other vehicles go mass market. Now California may add more to this budget, but don’t count on it given the state’s fiscal status.
To get this rebate, you need to gather a whole bunch of documentation that show you bought the vehicle, as well as prove/maintain the following criteria.
- Own or lease the car for 36 months consecutively.
- Register the car in California for 36 months consecutively.
- Prove California Residency
If you don’t maintain this, they may come looking for you asking for the rebate money back. So early buyers who are planning on flipping the car won’t get any benefit from federal/state tax credits.
For complete info visit the Center for Sustainable Energy California
California HOV Lane Access –
You can now apply for the Green HOV Stickers in California. Check out the updated California Chevy Volt Rebates and HOV Lane 2012 Post here.
Current California owners of certain battery electric vehicles can take advantage of driving in HOV lanes with only a single rider if you apply for and get a White Label HOV Lane sticker. Current Chevrolet Volts are not eligible for the same reasons as the rebate above previously, but newer models with the low emissions package will be eligible.
You can check out more about the pending HOV lane stickers for AT-PZEV vehicles here.
PG&E Electric Vehicle Charging Preferred Rates
PG&E services the San Francisco Bay Area as well as other parts the West Coast. Many other electric utilities probably also have EV programs, so post your local data if you find out any in your area. For PG&E however, you can qualify for lower off peak electricity rates if you own an electric vehicle and charge it at home. For PG&E it’s the E9 rate schedule, or in summarized form, if you don’t use a ton of electricity to begin with you can get Off peak charging rates at low as $0.06 per Kw*H. Pretty cool huh?
Of course, you have to actually opt into this program with your utility, and have a smart time of day meter installed.
added 12/12/2010: Check out the complete analysis of On vs Off Peak Charging with PG&E and their E-9 electricity rates for Electric Cars!
Level 2 – 240 Volt EV Charging Equipment and Installation Rebates
Check out my newest article on how to get 240 Volt Level 2 Charging installed for your home with the Chevrolet Volt - including rebates, installation timing, and other details.