Tax Incentives for Hybrids, Other Greeen Cars Likely to End

By dancurranjr On December 14th, 2010

Save for a holiday miracle from outgoing U.S. lawmakers, a host of tax breaks for fuel-savvy car buyers will go away in less than a month.

But one group that won’t be shorted are electric car purchasers.

“Credits are expiring once and for all on a huge swath of new cars, unless there’s a successful lame-duck effort in Congress to extend them,” said Carroll Lachnit, features editor of

The online automotive resource said potential buyers should note the tax break situation when deciding whether to purchase a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle.

Hybrid, diesel and compressed natural gas vehicles purchased after Dec, 31, 2010 will no longer be eligible.

“But the tax credits for plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt and electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf are likely to remain in effect for several years,” Lachnit said.

Ron Montoya, features writer with, cautioned that, “Tax credits aren’t the only factor to consider, especially since buyers have to wait until spring to realize the savings,”

Meanwhile, dealers may boost prices for the most desired vehicles, which could cut into the tax savings, according to Edmunds.

For some models, buyers will realize better savings if they wait until ‘hot’ models cool off, said Montoya, citing the Honda Civic GX and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid as examples.

Dozens of new models have been eligible for the federal tax credits in the past three model years. They include:

  • The special Honda Civic GX sedan powered by Compressed Natural Gas, whose few would-be buyers could receive $4,000 credits at least if they purchase before the end of the year.
  • Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, which manufacture models that are eligible at least until Dec. 31 for a diesel credit. Tax breaks start at $575. The highest are $1,800 for the BMW X5 xDrive35d sport utility and for the Mercedes GL-Class320 BlueTEC sport utility.
  • The 2011 Nissan Leaf hatchback and the Tesla Roadster two-door convertible. Purchasers can apply for a $7,500 electric tax credits. Similarly, buyers of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt four-door hatchback can get a $7,500 plug-in hybrid credit.
  • Various car and truck models built by BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GMC, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Saturn. They make hybrid models, and owners of new models can receive a hybrid credit at least until the end of 2010. The credit begins at $900. At the top end is a $2,350 credit for buyers of the Nissan Altima Hybrid sedan. notes that credits begin to phase out for a manufacturer’s vehicles once it sells a predetermined total.

In many cases, most notably with hybrid models from Ford, Honda and Toyota, the federal tax programs have already been phased out.

The credits can be used only by the original owner. If leasing a vehicle, the automaker may claim the credit and pass the savings on to the consumer, according to

The full list of vehicles eligible for the tax credit can be found online at Edmunds

More Major Companies On-Board For Future Green Vehicles

By dancurranjr On December 11th, 2010

Every major automaker plans some sort of electric or plug-in hybrid offering over the next several years, a wave of competing technologies reminiscent of the beginning of the automobile age.

General Motors Co. this month will start shipping its Chevrolet Volt, which uses a gas engine to generate electricity when the batteries run out. It will be available for sale in California in December. Next week, Nissan Motor Co., whose North American headquarters are based in Franklin, will launch its Leaf, which is powered only by batteries.

Ford will come out with an all-electric version of its Focus compact car next year.

In November, the Japanese automaker Toyota became the latest to unveil a pure electric vehicle, the RAV4 compact crossover, showing it off at the Los Angeles auto show. It’s scheduled to go on sale sometime in 2012.

In Middle Tennessee, Nissan will spend more than $1 billion to build a lithium-ion battery plant and add a Leaf assembly line at its Smyrna manufacturing complex for the Leaf, with production to begin there in late 2012.

Until then, the company will import Leafs from a plant in Japan that has limited capacity, which means the vehicles will be in short supply until the Smyrna operation goes online.

Others planning to introduce electrics over the next two years include Fiat, Honda, Mitsubishi, Smart and Mini.

“Electric vehicles are finally real and not an R&D project,” said Mark Sogomian, a partner at Ernst & Young.

SOURCE: The Tennessean

Is the Age of Electric Vehicles Finally Upon Us?

By dancurranjr On December 3rd, 2010

The LA Auto Show took place last week and several of the hottest cars were electric vehicles (EVs). On display were the much anticipated Chevy Volt along with its current biggest competitor the Nissan Leaf. According to Chevy, the Volt will be available sometime this year for pre-order and manufacturing will begin sometime in the first quarter of 2011. Once it is finally available, the price tag is expected to be in the $40K range. So maybe, just maybe consumers will actually get their hands on the Volt in 2011.

Nissan took orders for the the Nissan Leaf earlier this year and according to the company, the first year model is sold out. With a price tag around $32K it will definitely be a competitor to the Volt. But here is where the cars really differ. The Volt is both a plug-in electric vehicle with flex-fuel capability (PHEV). In other words, it has a gas backup that can run on anything from 100 percent gasoline to eighty-five percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, (E85) while the Leaf is a plug-in electric only vehicle (PEV).

But how hot will EVs and PHEV’s really be? The auto industry is banking on them and nearly all major auto companies have either an EV or PHEV car that will hit the market by 2012. Here are some examples: Audi is releasing 2 models, BMW is releasing 4 models, Ford is releasing 2 models, Mercedes Benz is releasing 4 models, Toyota is releasing 4 new models, Lexus is releasing 5 models, and Honda is releasing 5 new models. In addition, Cadillac has one model, Hyundai is launching its first hybrid, as is Jaguar, Infiniti, Mitsubishi, KIA, SAAB, and Volkswagen. And this list doesn’t include the hybrids and EVs from independent car companies such as Fisker Karma, the Coda sedan, Smart Fortwo EV and Weego LiFE.

What is interesting is that very few of these vehicles are set to be plug-in electric FFV vehicles (PHEVs) meaning most won’t be able to use higher blends of ethanol for their “gas” back-ups. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice two things of interest. First, most of the EVs are coming from foreign manufacturers and countries such as China have plans to dominate the EV market. These same manufactures are not releasing many, if any FFVs. Second, American auto manufacturers are not releasing as many EV models as foreign manufacturers. However, in their case, they are releasing significantly more FFVs.

It will be extremely interesting to watch consumer adoption of the next generation of FFVs and EVs and simultaneously see if the American auto industry comes out on top with its gamble on alternative fuels or if foreign auto makers will continue to gain market share with their gamble on EVs.

SOURCE: Domestic

SFO Airport Hybrid Car Renters Get $15 Discount

By dancurranjr On June 6th, 2009

green_rentalSan Francisco International Airport is launching the nation’s first Green Rental Car program that rewards customers for renting “green” alternative-fueled vehicles. Customers who rent hybrid cars at SFO, such as the Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid or Toyota PRIUS will receive a $15 discount at the counter.

It is estimated that more than 4,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year will be eliminated through the implementation of this program.Currently, 10 percent of the rental car fleet at SFO is comprised of high-mileage cars—such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Focus—in addition to alternative-fuel cars.

“The Green Rental Car program is the first of several green initiatives the airport is rolling out in 2009,” said John L. Martin, Director of SFO. “We are committed to making SFO the sustainable Airport of Choice for California travelers.”

Participating rental car agencies:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • Fox
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Thrifty

SOURCE: SF Examiner

Hybrid Cars To Offer 100 MPG In 2011

By dancurranjr On June 3rd, 2009

toyota-electric-solarThe new Hybrid Cars coming to market are meeting new government standards for carbon emissions and fuel economy. Some of the new hybrid cars already offer up to 50 MPG, but that’s nothing in comparison to what will happen in 2011. Automakers are making serious advancements under the hood that will make hybrid cars in 2010 appear too conventional.

For example, the Toyota Prius can offer consumers a 50 MPG rating in combined fuel economy. The automobile offers better mileage with enhanced performance in comparison to current hybrids. The vehicle outputs ultra-low emissions and the ride is very comforting.

The electric motor is called a permanent magnet synchronous motor which can out put 80 horsepower with a 153 lb-ft torque. The Hybrid system net outputs 134 horsepower. The hybrid battery pack is nickel-metal hydride.

The vehicle also requires no belts under the hood for better fuel economy and less potential maintenance. This is one of the reasons why this is an eco-friendly car. The driver can also receive feedback, from the multi-information display panel, which can provide help to acquire economical driving habits.

Hybrids can save consumers potential maintenance costs involved with belt replacements. The automobiles seem to offer 3 tiers of savings. First, you save money on gas, then you save money on future maintenance costs and repairs, and you get a tax credit for purchasing a new hybrid car.

The more you look into the hybrid alternative fuel solution, the more the savings keep adding up. Why buy a traditional gas guzzling vehicle when gas prices are rising again?

During the past 12 months or so, it seemed unlikely that an automaker could provide a 50 MPG rating on any automobile. It suddenly happened, and then we witnessed the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid achieve more than 1,400 miles of travel on a single tank. This marks the equivalent of 80 miles per gallon.

The automakers truly deserve credit for their breakthroughs in green technology and better fuel economy. While Chevrolet is betting everything on its Chevy Volt, other car manufacturers appear to be a step ahead. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Ford are delivering what consumers what today, but it seems like General Motors Corp is in a do-or-die situation.

GM claims that the Chevrolet Volt can drive up to 100 MPG on a single tank of gas. It’s not known what percentage of that is electric power, or the size of the tank. Even so, using fuel to power vehicles will be something of the past as the hybrid market matures.