Free Electric Cars

Last week, I got a note from a CPA asking me if I knew anything about getting an electric car for free.

She said one of her clients had just ordered a free golf cart-type vehicle from www.freeelectriccar.com  . And they had asked her about it after buying it – not before.

So, I went to see what this was all about. Let me tell you folks, I was blown away by this. Why didn’t anyone bring this to my attention earlier? This is terrific!

But is it for real?

I asked IRS spokesman Robert Marvin about this tax credit.

Marvin quotes from the Internal Revenue Code:

    Internal Revenue Code Section 30D provides a credit for Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicles including passenger vehicles and light trucks. Some low speed vehicles may qualify for the credit if acquired prior to January 1, 2010. The amount of the credit for 2009 is equal to the sum of $ 2,500 plus $ 417 for each kilowatt-hour of traction battery capacity in excess of four kilowatt-hours. The maximum credit can range from $ 7,500 to $ 15,000, depending on the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle.

So, it looks as if this is for real.

IRS has a webpage with more information about the credit.
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=214841,00.html

Marvin tells us the credit was changed for 2010:

    For vehicles acquired after 12/31/2009, the maximum amount of the credit will be $7,500 and the 30D credit will no longer apply to low speed vehicles. However, the credit under section 30, applies to certain low speed vehicles acquired after 12/31/2009. The vehicle must be acquired for use or lease and not for resale. Additionally, the original use of the vehicle must commence with the taxpayer and the vehicle must be used predominantly in the United States.

Scroll down to the bottom of the IRS page for a list of manufacturers. Clicking on the manufacturer of the vehicle of your choice will give you the maximum available credit for 2009 and 2010. There are still some cars where you can get the full credit.

Clearly, the credit does not cover the cost of shipping. So see if you can find a dealer or outlet near you, to avoid having to pay anything at all.

So, how does that relate to the website we started with? www.freeelectriccar.com (note: this site is now gone! Interesting.) 

They tell you that your purchase will qualify for the credit, as long as the invoice is dated by December 31st 2009. That may not be quite correct.

According to Marvin – 07 Acquired. A vehicle is not “acquired” before the date on which title to that vehicle passes under state law.
http://www.irs.gov/irb/2009-48_IRB/ar09.html#d0e2520

It’s quite possible that title doesn’t pass until you get it registered with your state’s version of DMV (department of motor vehicles). You will have to find out the rules in your own state. Can you do that, and still get title to the vehicle this year?

I don’t know. Time is seriously running out.

Don’t despair.

There are still vehicles you can buy in 2010 for full credit. Just look up the manufacturer on the list – and find their closest sales outlet.
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=214841,00.html

Oh look, the Zone Electric cars are qualified for the 2010 credit. You can still buy 4 different models for nothing more than the shipping charge, if you get it from this website. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=215053,00.html

Who is this for?

Naturally, if you have no car right now, this might be a way to get a free vehicle. (except for shipping). It will have limited range. But if you don’t need to go more than a few miles at any one time, it’s great. You can always add on some fabric for external walls if you want a little protection from the elements.

For couples with one car, a second car like this might be ideal for local grocery shopping, errands, eating out, and visiting neighbors. Naturally, you’re not safe on the freeway

And for all you folks running a home-based business who rarely get out and drive anywhere – this could be a great replacement for the expensive lump of metal in your driveway. Sell it. Cut your insurance costs, registration costs and all the other costs associated with that space hog you only use for about 2,000 miles a year – or less.

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