Georgia Democratic Senator Reverend Warnock has proposed a new bill that may help more automakers initially qualify for the new US federal EV tax credit. If the bill passes, it also means more people who are looking to lease or buy an electric car will have options that may suit them.
As you may know, the new EV tax credit that's coming as part of the Inflation Reduction Act will actually limit the number of electric vehicles that can qualify. at least temporarily. This is mostly due to the fact that the legislation also has a goal of promoting EV production and assembly in the US.
While promoting EV manufacturing and battery materials sourcing in the US is a wise move, most automakers won't be able to comply right away. Senator Warnock's Affordable Electric Vehicles for America Act aims to provide a grace period to automakers like Hyundai so that people can take advantage of the credit while the brand is working toward producing EVs on our shores.
Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, but they're expensive. Many of those that are the least expensive – such as options produced by Kia and Hyundai – are also among the long list of those that won't qualify under the new rules.
What makes this all especially interesting is that Senator Warnock's opponent for the Georgia Senate seat, former football player and Republican candidate Herschel Walker, believes electric cars cost more than his house. According to several sources, this is far from true since he just reportedly bought a new home that cost $11 million.
With that said, you may think he'd like to see changes to the tax credit so that the people of Georgia could have affordable options. However, Walker is outwardly anti-EV, and he's also anti-solar. He went so far as to say he's also anti-incentives, and he thinks the government is trying to make him put solar panels on his car and then live in it.
At any rate, some foreign automakers are already making plans to manufacture EVs in the US so that they can take advantage of the tax credit. While they may not necessarily want to comply, it's important to be able to compete with other brands that are eligible for the credit. If a buyer can get a $7,500 credit on a car, but that credit isn't available on the rival EV, they're likely to go with the car that's eligible for the credit.
Georgia is also one of a handful of southern states that are becoming popular locations for automakers to set up shop. If Warnock can help these foreign automakers in the interim, perhaps they'll consider Georgia as their future home for EV production.
Hyundai is already planning to build a $5.5 billion EV factory in Georgia, though it doesn't plan to move forward until next year. According to Electrek, the South Korean automaker may reconsider and begin fast-tracking the project. Meanwhile, officials from the country are in talks with US politicians to try to come up with a resolution for the time being.
Senator Warnock's proposal would essentially just provide impacted automakers more time to comply with the new rules. If the legislation passes, the manufacturing rules wouldn't go into place until 2026. The changes to the battery provisions would be extended until 2025. Warnock shared via Electrek:
"I’m focused squarely on helping Georgia car buyers save money and helping car manufacturers who do business in our state thrive. The Affordable Electric Vehicles for America Act will lower costs for Georgians and provide consumers more options when purchasing an electric vehicle, while also supporting good-paying jobs across our state and bolstering Georgia automakers like Hyundai. I’m going to do everything I can to get this bill over the finish line."