When people buy electric cars, they get federal tax credits. There are also a growing number of third-party companies that convert regular cars to electric vehicles, and those cars are eligible for the EV tax credit too.
A selling point for electric vehicles, besides never paying for gas again, is that the federal government will knock $7,500 off the buyers’ tax bills. However, only a few electric cars are available from major car companies and supply is fairly limited. Right now, there is the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla S or the Mitsubishi Miev.
Besides limited availability, these models don’t offer a lot of choice to the public, some of whom would rather drive an electric version of a car they are already familiar with. In order to do that, the car must undergo an electric car conversion. Anyone who converted a car or paid someone to do it, according to the New York Times, used to be able to claim 10 percent of the cost of the conversion up to $4,000, until the conversion credit expired at the end of 2011.
Third parties still qualify
A limited number of third parties will convert brand new cars to electric cars, some of which are eligible for the $7,500 electric vehicle credit. For instance, an electric Jeep Grand Cherokee or Mercedes ML350 from Amp Electric Vehicles is eligible for the credit. It will cost a pretty penny, though. Including the discount from the tax credit, a two-wheel drive Grand Cherokee will cost $49,990 and a four-wheel drive Grand Cherokee will cost $51,900, which is more than $30,000 above the cost of the normal models.
Plug-In Motors, according to CNET, offers converted electric versions of the Ford Mustang and the F-150. The cars are also eligible for the $7,500 tax credit. They aren’t cheap, either.
The base Mustang, which Plug-In calls the Panther, costs $75,900 and the F-150 costs $89,900. Both have a range of 85 miles. The F-150 takes 34 hours to recharge from a 120-volt outlet and the Panther takes 11 hours, though a 240-volt socket reduces charge time to 3.2 hours and 1.1 hours, respectively. The company also offers models of both with a 200-mile range, which cost $99,900 for the Panther and $114,900 for the F-150.
There are also a number of state credits available for people who purchase eligible electric vehicles. According to CNET, Colorado credits up to 85 percent of the cost of converting a vehicle to electric power and Oklahoma will credit up to 50 percent.
There are a list of available state credits on the website of the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicle Data Center, part of the U.S. Department of Energy. Interested buyers should look at the available credits in their state.
AFDC state credits database: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/state
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