Does Your Hybrid Vehicle Qualify for Full Tax Credits?

Not all 2007 tax credits for hybrid vehicles are the same, even if the taxpayer bought the same car. How is that possible?

The 2005 Energy Act providing tax credits for new hybrid vehicle owners include qualifications that the owners must meet. Some of the qualifications such as the following are clear cut.

1. The vehicle must be bought on or before 12/31/10 and driven or used after 12/31/05.

2. The tax credit may be claimed only by the original owner of the new hybrid. A preowned or used hybrid vehicle does not qualify for the credit.

3. In order to take advantage of their credit, some first time owners of hybrid vehicles might have to recapture their tax credit if they resell their hybrid car or truck.

4, The vehicle must be driven mainly in the United States.

5. If a hybrid vehicle is leased, the leasing company has the right to claim the tax credit, as the credit is only available to the original purchaser of the hybrid vehicle.

So far the hybrid owner only needs to take basic precautions. But the Energy Act goes farther and places other qualifications to consider such as the date of purchase and number of hybrids sold per car manufacturer.

The number of hybrids is limited by 60,000 hybrids per car manufacturers that may be claimed for taxes. Two hybrids that have met the 60,000 mark in June 2006 are Toyota and Lexus hybrids. Buyers who purchased their Toyota hybrid or Lexus hybrid before October 1 will have 100 percent of their tax credit. While buyers who purchased their hybrids on or after October 1 will have a tax credit that is reduced by 50 percent.

That means that some buyers of a new Prius or Lexus hybrid vehicle will qualify for the full $3,150 tax credit. While other buyers of the same vehicle will receive only a $1,575 tax credit. Therefore, the amount that the taxpayer may claim is not only based on the amount the vehicles qualifies for but also is based on the date the hybrid was purchased.

It should be noted that the tax credit will not last forever, but will be phased out by 2010. This is hurried along by reducing the amount of tax claims until it is gone.

For example, after 60,000 vehicles are sold, the taxpayer may claim the full amount of credit for that first quarter. For the second and third quarter after 60,000 vehicles are sold, the taxpayer may claim half or 50 percent of the tax credit. During the fourth and fifth quarter, the taxpayer may claim 25 percent of tax claim. After the fifth quarter the 60,000 vehicles are sold, no tax credit may be claimed.

A further limitation in claiming a tax credit is based on the type of vehicle purchased. This involves the amount of reduced emissions and fuels saved by the said vehicle. Only the type of vehicle is considered. Price is not a factor. You would guess that the more expensive hybrids would bring a higher tax credit. But, this is not always the case. For example, a $40,000 Lexus RX 400h hybrid commands a maximum of only a $2,200 tax credit.

Another consideration in limiting tax credits is the Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM), which may disqualify some other taxpayers.

Other hybrid manufacturers such Honda, Ford, GM have not meet the 60,000 limit and still qualify for the full amount. You do not have the same considerations, at the present time, that others such as Toyota hybrid owners must contend with.

Vehicle to Grid – How Electric Vehicles Interact With a Smart Power Electricity Network

What is Vehicle to Grid
Also called Vehicle 2 Grid or V2G, Vehicle to Grid is the process of connecting your electric car into the transmission electricity network. If you have an electric vehicle then you will definitely want to consider setting up V2G through a simple metering system and contract with your local electricity supplier.

What do I need to consider before deciding to connect my vehicle to the grid?

  • Firstly you have to have an electric car which can be charged by a standard electricity outlet.
  • The second thing you will want to do is determine some basic driving habits – i.e. if you drive almost your entire vehicle range to work and back every day, then there is unlikely to be much energy left over to swap between your battery and the grid, which makes setting up V2G a little redundant
  • Having decided that V2G connectivity is possible and feasible, you will need to look at the right products on the market to help you achieve this. I.e. which inverter should be used and which electricity trading contract will suit your needs the best?
  • If you decide suddenly that V2G is not good for you, how can you get out of an otherwise more expensive contract?

Once these basic items have been checked off the list, it is time to call up your utility and start the process of applying for V2G. You can then purchase a suitable inverter which allows you to feed back into the grid (this will be similar if not identical to the type of inverters used on solar PV grid connected power supplies). Of course you will have to decide what sized inverter to go for.

For example, a 5kW inverter may cost $1000 and a 2kW inverter may cost $600. Therefore you have to be sure that you can recover the $400 over being able to sell a higher rate of electricity in peak times. Some simple maths will help you work out the optimal solution, but just be aware of the various pay offs for each option.

Why is Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Good?
Vehicle to Grid applications have a number of benefits for all sorts of businesses and stakeholders. Vehicle to Grid (V2G):

  • Empowers the home consumer to make sensible choices about when they use their electricity through smart metering
  • saves the consumer money in the long run through effective electricity management
  • is green! Every time you supply the grid with electricity during the yearly peak energy demand, you are reducing the need to upgrade the electricity network with more transmission lines and generators
  • You are helping to bring electric vehicles (EV’s) onto the market
  • You are reducing your carbon footprint! This is a big ones these days
  • The electricity company can save money and reduce their unit electricity prices, or reduce the need to increase them
  • reduce the amount of electricity transmission line needed. I.e. the car transports the electricity to where it is needed.
  • Cuts down on the amount of fuel stations required
  • Reduces our addiction to foreign oil through the accelerated introduction of electric vehicles and ability to replace fossil fuel generation with renewable energy generation.
  • Allows more sustainable energy and renewable energy to be introduced onto the electricity grid, as electric vehicle batteries can now act as a buffer to intermittent generation.

The last point is an important one. Traditional transmission networks are struggling to cope with large percentages of intermittent renewable and sustainable energy generation, as electricity generation from these sources is largely dependent on the elements. Therefore to have the ability to store electricity somewhere is important. In many countries power utilities are approaching this by pumping water up a hill and regenerating during peak times (~60% efficiency) or storing hydrogen formed by electrolysis underground ready for re generation (~40% efficiency). Storing electricity in batteries is a much higher efficiency (60% – 90%) however is a little costly.

Japan uses large battery sheds to store small amounts of energy, however vehicle to grid systems also work very well as storage mechanisms and are likely to play this role in the future as more electric vehicles hit the market. How soon we will see such networks will largely rely on the countries commitment to renewable and sustainable energy sources, as well as the abundance of wind, sun and wave energy. Although many companies claim to have a green lining, short term economics of such projects still remains the number one driver for the introduction of such technology.

The advantage to the end consumer who is running a vehicle to grid system is the savings in electricity for essentially hiring out the storage space in their electric car battery. So as we can see, it is a win win for many as it not only reduces the stress on our electricity transmission and generation networks, allows more sustainable energy to be placed on the system with lower carbon emissions, but also saves the end user money whilst making electric vehicles more affordable. It also weans us off our foreign oil addiction through the cost effective introduction of electric vehicles, a topical issue as we approach peak oil status around the world.

For more information you may want to consult your electricity network to find out about their smart metering tariffs. You will also want to look into the purchase of an electric vehicle, or an electric vehicle conversion in able to make use of the vehicle-2-grid (V2G) technology. I guess we can all look forward to a cleaner, greener, cheaper carbon restrained future, and V2G is going to help us get there in a big way!

Hybrid Vehicles Are Taking Over

Just a short time ago, hybrid automobiles seemed like something far off in the future that no one would ever really drive – almost like some sort of space car. Now, they are actually becoming more and more popular with drivers, as they start to realize the advantages of these vehicles greatly outweigh the positives. Hybrids are becoming more affordable as well, easily comparable to the price you pay for other vehicles of the same style that are not hybrids.

By using at least two energy sources in order to power a vehicle, hybrid automobiles can help their owners save money month after month when it comes to paying for gas and filling up at the pump. Even though these vehicles still require gasoline in order to function, they also operate using battery power from that of an electric battery. Another common type of hybrid vehicle is called plug-in-electric vehicles. These are actually plugged in to be charged, or they charge as the vehicle runs while it is being driven somewhere.

Hybrid vehicles not only ease the pain at the pump, but they also are much better for our environment. They produce less emissions than a typical vehicle and are crafted in a special aerodynamic shape that allows them to be less wind-resistant. Some hybrids are even made out of special material that allows for the majority of its parts to be easily recycled once the vehicle is no longer used or too old to be driven any longer.

Popular models of hybrid vehicles include the Honda Civic, Honda Insight, Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius, and Lexus RX 450h. Each of these automobiles offer top-of-the-line features, great gas mileage, and a promise to help their owners save money in the long run. With the non-hybrid version of these vehicles being some of the most popular ones on the market, it only made sense for the auto companies to start manufacturing them in hybrid form, to offer that option to their customers as well.

What once appeared to be something too futuristic to imagine has now turned into a very viable and realistic option for those seeking to purchase a new vehicle. Hybrid automobiles have become incredibly popular, and for good reason – who isn’t looking to save some money as they fill up their gas tanks and watch their savings drain? While hybrids won’t completely solve the problems associated with high gas prices, they sure can help to ease that pain and save owners a decent chunk of change.