As General Motors gets ready to put the much-awaited Chevy Volt into production and deliver it to customers this November, consumer reaction to the world’s first EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle) still remains an unknown. The idea of emissions-free driving might capture many hearts, but a high price tag and the lack of a truly prevalent electric infrastructure may serve as a deterrent to some. Fortunately for General Motors, many legislators are working to negate any infrastructure fears consumers may have about an electric vehicle.
The federal government already grants a $7,500 tax credit to buyers of electric vehicles and now Maryland is jumping on the bandwagon by sweetening the pot even further. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) signed into law a bill that will give electric car buyers two incentives: the first motivator begins October 1, 2010, lasts for four years, and empowers owners to use HOV lanes – regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle. The second incentive, which begins October 1, is a $2,000 excise tax credit that can be combined with the $7,500 federal tax credit at the point of sale and will apply to vehicles titled in Maryland through July 1, 2013.
Tom Stephens, Vice Chairman, GM Global Product Operations, agrees that “Consumer incentives such as access to HOV lanes and tax credits make a real difference in the marketplace and can drive consumers to adopt new technologies.”
The GM Authority Take
We concur with Mr. Stephens wholeheartedly but believe that GM should place an increased focus on educating the public at large about the real-world benefits of the Volt, as our own (completely subjective) experience has shown that average car buyers don’t perceive a real difference between the Volt and other hybrid vehicles.