Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Status Of EVs In The US -- Commentary -- February 24, 2018

Overnight I spent a lot of time -- at least fifteen minutes, LOL -- looking at various issues regarding EVs. Below the graphic I have a very small sample of the articles I read.

Based on that "research," this is my 30-second elevator speech, with regard to EVs in the US:
  • short term the Chevy Bolt (or alternatively, one of the Ford EVs) is going to be the #1 EV sold in the US (short-term -- five years)
  • long term, Tesla, if it survives, will be a niche player at best (but I don't see it surviving)
  • by 2019, it will be obvious that the phase-out of the federal credits will benefit foreign auto-makers, the phase-out will hurt domestic automakers (GM and Ford); both political parties will agree
  • extending the EV federal credit is a budget killer -- but that won't stop Congress from extending the EV federal credit; there's a case for extending the credit indefinitely but Congress seldom does anything "indefinitely"
  • publicly accessible charging stations are the "Achilles heel" for EVs; until this problem is solved; the US won't reach the kick-off point in the "S" curve of adoption
Likely phase-out dates for federal EV credits, from Inside EVs -- link below the graphic:

Further reading:
The "phaseout": no one talks about the timing of the credit expiry date/phaseout which might explain some of Tesla's erratic delivery numbers. From the linked InsideEV article above:
Each independent automaker’s eligible plug-in vehicles receive a federal credit (up to $7,500) federal credit – until the 200,000th plug-in is registered inside the US, when a countdown for phaseout of the credit begins.
At the time of the 200,000th sales, and so as not to disrupt/confuse those buying the EVs, that full $7,500 credit continues through the end of the current quarter and to the completion of the next quarter.  After this period ends the “phase-out” begins, meaning the credit is reduced to $3,750 for the next 6 months, then to $1,875 for the next 6 months before expiring completely.
During any part of the phase-out process (between sale #200,000 and the calendar expiry date), the OEM is free to BUILD AND SELL AS MANY EVS as they can/want, receiving the applicable incentive amount.
Question: "at the time of the 200,000th sale...." Does a thousand-dollar deposit constitute a sale? If so, one could argue that a million orders/deposits during the six-month phaseout could count as sales (remember -- one can get batch VINs from the government even if cars have not yet been built). If one has a receipt for a "sale" would that be enough for the IRS/credit? Obviously the IRS is not going to go out to your house to check to see if you have a Tesla in your garage.

Playing devil's advocate, if I have a VIN and a receipt that shows I've bought the car, that should be enough for the credit. Most folks never pay cash for an automobile; they may make a downpayment but after that, the bank or credit union "owns" the car. Tesla could certainly argue they have sold a car, but while waiting for delivery, the buyer has an interest free loan which is not "triggered" until the buyer actually takes possession of the car.

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