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USA: Three federal electric vehicle incentives expiring at end of 2011

2011 may have been the first full year that multiple mainstream plug-in vehicles were available in the U.S., but it will also be remembered – most likely – as the year when the U.S. federal government was offering the most money to plug-in vehicle buyers (based on the number and types of incentives offered, not in total funds spent). As of the end of 2011 – i.e., three short days from now – three incentives will go the way of an ethanol subsidy. A fourth – arguably the most important one – will remain on the books.

The three federal electric vehicle tax credits that are set to expire are the $1,000 (maximum) to install a home charging station, the $2,500 (max) for two- or three-wheeled EV that have 2.5-kWh batteries or larger and the $4,000 (max) for converting either a hybrid to plug-in or a regular ICE to EV power. The big tax credit that’s sticking around is the $7,500 (max, depending on the size of the battery) for buying a new plug-in vehicle. This credit is set to phase out on a manufacturer-by-manufacturer basis once an automaker sells 200,000 plug-in cars. That could take a while, if the credit is left alone. Plug In America’s legislative director, Jay Friedland, thinks this may not be so easy. In a recent email to PIA supporters, he wrote


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