Joseph Biden Aims To Improve US EV Tax Credit, Restore It For Tesla & GM

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If elected president of the United States, Joseph R. Biden would do a few things for the electric vehicle industry. He has elsewhere talked about helping to get a massive number of EV charging stations around the country, but he also has some tax proposals on the wish list. In short, he would aim to:

  • Get rid of the manufacturer cap on the $7500 EV tax credit. (Right now, only Tesla and GM have reached the cap, meaning that buyers of Tesla and GM electric cars no longer get a tax credit, while buyers of electric cars from other manufacturers can still get a $7500 tax credit. This is a strange system that penalizes leaders, which makes very little sense. However, that stems from its odd history, which almost no one seems to know. The initial proposals many years ago was to have a 200,000 vehicle cap across all companies, but Plug In America and perhaps a few others lobbied to get the cap shifted to each manufacturer individually instead of a broad market cap. In the end, that means a lot more tax credits for buying EVs, but it’s time for the policy to be updated and improved in order to make sense and not penalize the market leaders.)
  • Restore the tax credit permanently for US-made electric vehicles.
  • Narrow it to “middle-income” or lower buyers, meaning people with less than $250,000 annual income.

Biden would also like to see fossil fuel subsidies cut. (Of course, all such legislation requires Congress, not just the president, but it does appear that Biden is making climate action one of his top two areas of focus.)

That information above comes from a March analysis of Joe Biden’s tax proposals. Here’s a short summary on Joe Biden’s proposals with regards to tax expenditures, via the Tax Policy Center:

“Biden’s plan would reduce tax expenditures for investments in fossil-fuel production and commercial real estate. It would also provide additional tax credits for investments in electric vehicles, renewable energy, and energy-efficient technologies as well as tax benefits for family caregiving, student loans, and childless workers age 65 and older. His plan would make tax incentives for retirement saving more progressive by replacing the deduction for traditional individual retirement account (IRA) and defined-contribution pension plan contributions with a refundable tax credit as well as by automatically enrolling most workers without pensions in IRAs.”

On page 7, you get this line:

  • “Restore the full electric vehicle tax credit, target it to middle-income consumers, and prioritize the purchase of American-made vehicles. We assume the proposal makes the electric vehicle tax credit permanent, repeals the per manufacturer cap, and phases out the credit for taxpayers with income above $250,000.”

You also get proposals to support solar energy and energy efficiency:

  • Reinstate the solar investment tax credit.
  • Reinstate tax credits for residential energy efficiency.


Regarding actual taxing of Americans, there’s a sort of funny thing going on. Biden has been very clear that he’d only raise taxes on people making $400,000+ a year (assuming Congress gets behind him on this). That would be rich people, very rich people. Interestingly, though, even Wall Street has been heavily backing Biden.

Different rich people have different motivations. Some very rich people do think it’s best for the economy to support the working class. Some do think it’s the government’s role to provide a half-decent social safety net and help lift people up out of a month-to-month struggle.

Also, some would typically support Republican policies but think that the United States is under grave threat, that our democracy is in the shakiest position it’s been since the Civil War. Many Republicans have shifted to supporting Biden or the whole Democratic ticket as a result. Some see climate crisis as an existential threat to human society and are thus supporting Biden over climate science denier Trump, who incorrectly claims wind turbines cause cancer and solar panels aren’t ready for prime time.

As I wrote a few days ago, Wharton Business School, Goldman Sachs, and Moody’s all forecast that the US economy would be much better under Joseph R. Biden than Donald J. Trump.

I think that shouldn’t be surprising at all to people who track policy closely, but it is unfortunately still a major and false talking point across the media that Republicans are more focused on the economy. I believe that a false narrative is due to several historical matters, not the least of which is the incorrect notion that trickle-down economics is good for the economy. Research has shown us it is not.

Charts courtesy Princeton University
Only covers last 3 Obama years and first 3 Trump years (pre-COVID). Chart © Steve Rattner

We’ll see what happens on Tuesday. Honestly, though, I can’t see a legitimate reason for anyone to support Donald Trump for another 4 years as president. Even after massive tax cuts, the US economy improved less under Trump for 3 years than it did in Obama’s final 3 years as president. Obama and Biden brought health care to more than 20 million people, while Trump has been trying for years to take that away.

Biden is intent on strong climate action that also creates millions of clean energy jobs. Trump wants further deregulation of industries that pollute our world, something he has taken to a level far beyond any previous Republican. Biden actually has an economic plan and a plan to deal with the coronavirus pandemic in a sensible way instead of a totally negligent and irresponsible way. Anyone who has dug into the proposals in an honest way has come away with the same conclusion: a Joe Biden presidency with the backing of Congress would create millions more jobs and get businesses back on their feet better and more quickly than another Trump presidency.

Not only that, but I find it refreshing that Joe Biden smiles real smiles, is a career public servant rather than a career con man and brander, doesn’t owe any undisclosed people or countries $900 million, and works his butt off to unite people rather than divide them.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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