I know I should post an intro first, but I've got a burning question before I start planing a build. Big thoughts, tiny brain, so I've got to off-load.
There have been plenty of discussions about how federal and state tax credits don't apply to conversions (other than CO). At the federal level, and most states, the credit is limited to new vehicles. However, a kit car is a new vehicle and building one would appear to meet all of the applicable requirements. I've tried searching, but I haven't been able to find anyone discussing the tax credit for new kit cars, so I thought I'd start a thread.
TL/DR: I think the credit applies for kit cars.
Here is my read of the requirements. I am not a lawyer, but sorry for pointing to all the specific codes. However, i wanted to provide the real requirements, along with my read, to avoid misinterpretations for anyone able to tell me what I'm missing.
IRS code 30d (26 USC 30D
) lays out the requirements for qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles. To qualify for a credit a vehicle must:
1) commence use with the taxpayer. I've met the taxpayer/first owner and he is me.
2) be acquired for use, not resale. Met if I'm using the car myself.
3) be made by a manufacturer, as defined by Title II of the Clean Air Act (42 USC 7521
). "Manufacturer" is defined in 42 USC Code 7550
for section 7521 and the applicable words are "any person engaged in the manufacturing or assembling of new motor vehicles, new motor vehicle engine, new nonroad vehicles, or new nonroad engines". I meet the definition of manufacturer as the person building the car. So does the kit manufacturer.
4) The car must be treated as a motor vehicle for the Clean Air Act. This is met, since it just means a self propelled vehicle for use on public streets, roads, and highways.
5) The car's weight must be less than 14,000 lbs. This is easy to meet, no-one makes a kit car semi.
6) The car is propelled by electricity with a battery capacity >4kwh and is capable of being recharged externally. By definition an EV will meet this one.
So, I'm pretty sure a kit car build will meet all the requirements for the tax credit. However, the the IRS has also issued Notice 2009-89 allowing manufacturers to certify that their cars will meet the requirements of 30D. Technically, this notice only supports manufacturers getting pre-approval so they don't end up lying to buyers about the credit. However, applicability is ambiguous to my kit car idea.
The purpose of notice 2009-89 is discussed here
and the text is here
. Section 5 of the notice lays out the information a manufacturer should submit to the IRS. I won't go over all 17 points, only one isn't trivial (e.g., applying emissions requirements to an EV). Item 16 requires meeting the safety requirements of 49 USC 30101 through 30169
. However, an exception to the safety requirements was carved out for kit cars (see this
article). Currently 49 USC section 30114
provides an exemption for low volume manufacturers of replica cars. Well, 1 is less than 325.
In fact, a kit car manufacturer may be able to get their kit certified as an EV kit with the low volume manufacturer exception. low volume manufacturer allows selling an unlimited number of incomplete cars and selling the incomplete car still meets the definition of "manufacturer" for IRS code 30d (back at the start of this journey). Buying the kit from a manufacturer and finishing it prior to putting the car in use meets IRS code 30D.
So, if you're still following, I think it is possible to get the federal tax credit when building yourself a new EV kit car. I would love to see anyone else's opinion on this before I try reaching out to the IRS and/or factory five.