On December 31, 2014, just as FCEVs were beginning to hit U.S. roadways, with more on the way, Congress failed to renew the FCEV federal tax credit under the EXPIRE Act. The lapsed credit provided an incentive of up to $8,000 for the purchase of a light-duty FCEV.
It is expected that, by 2016, three major automakers will have FCEVs commercially available in the United States, and several more will be available by 2018. Despite the benefits FCEVs offer – driving range and refueling time comparable to today’s gasoline engine cars – the lack of a fuel cell tax credit will create a playing field that favors battery vehicles, significantly hindering the FCEV prospects for commercial success.
Battery vehicle tax credits were created under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009 (modified in 2010), and allow credits of up to $7,500 for BEVs and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs), based on the capacity of the battery used for vehicle energy storage. The BEV tax credit is structured differently than the FCEV tax credit, with no set expiration date. Instead, the BEV/PHEV credit “sunsets” based on market penetration for individual manufacturers selling more than 200,000 vehicles, starting on January 1, 2010, followed by a prolonged phase-out of the credit, starting at the beginning of the second calendar quarter after the manufacturer reaches the threshold. An example is shown below.
An auto executive succinctly stated, “We believe that legislators do not intend to pick winners and losers by providing tax credits to some technologies and not others. Many automakers believe that fuel cell electric vehicles are an essential part of the technology options we need to address ultra-low carbon transportation in the long run.”
In other words, there should be a level playing field for incentives for all types of ZEVs.
We ask that Congress reinstate the $8,000 FCEV credit, or create a new tax credit that would put FCEVs on the same footing as BEVs and PHEVs.
 Robert Bienenfeld, Honda’s Assistant Vice President, Environment and Energy Strategy, http://www.autoblog.com/2014/12/22/us-congress-8000-hydrogen-vehicle-tax-credit-expire/