Bailout Bill Tax Credits: Who Qualifies?

After I posted a synopsis of the alternative fuel tax credits here on GoodGreenCars Monday, astute reader Emily wondered if electric-only vehicles could get the credit, or if this particular sweetener only applied to PHEVs like the Volt.

Here’s the straight dope from the bill, as translated into English from Congress-ese by yours truly.

A New, Qualified, Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle, according to the recently passed bailout bill, means a vehicle that:

  1. Has a battery with at least a 4 kwh capacity (your tax credit will go up with the size of your battery)
  2. Uses an off-board source of energy to recharge the battery (an outlet or generator would do)
  3. Is certified under the Clean Air Act and meets California’s low emissions vehicle standard
  4. Will be put on the road for the first time by the taxpayer
  5. Was bought for use by the taxpayer, not for resale
  6. Was made by a manufacturer — home conversions do not get this credit

So your 6-year-old daughter’s battery-powered Barbie car doesn’t get the credit, nor does my friend Tim’s Porsche 914 conversion. You have to buy the car brand-new and use it yourself, no dealers or used cars allowed. And any plug-in vehicle should meet the emissions standards with flying colors.

If you have further questions, read the text of the bill here (look for Section 205 on page 186 of the PDF).

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