The Inflation Reduction Act now approaching final approval in Congress includes a well-intended tax credit of up to $7,500 if you purchase an electric vehicle.
The goal, of course, is to make it more affordable for people to switch to environmentally friendly vehicles as part of efforts to battle climate change.
But, Washington being Washington, lawmakers wrote the law in such a way that most EV buyers won’t qualify for the assistance.
That’s because, to get the full $7,500 credit, the high-tech battery used in your EV must be built in North America with minerals mined or recycled on the continent.
That’s a high bar.
EV batteries contain lithium. Most lithium comes from China.
They also contain cobalt. Most cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
And the percentage of locally sourced minerals required by the law only goes up over time.
Congress members wanted to encourage domestic production of EVs and their components — and that’s a laudable goal.
But it’s also an unrealistic one considering the nature of global supply chains.
“Unfortunately, the EV tax credit requirements will make most vehicles immediately ineligible for the incentive,” John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance of Automotive Innovation, said in a statement.
“That’s a missed opportunity at a crucial time and a change that will surprise and disappoint customers in the market for a new vehicle.”
Wait, there’s more.
The law also requires that half the value of an EV battery be attributable to production or assembly in North America. And it stipulates that the EV itself be manufactured in North America.
Again, lawmakers are trying to encourage positive change.
But they’re going about it as impractically as possible.
Most complex legislation ends up getting tweaked after passage to iron out kinks. This undoubtedly will be such an instance.
That is, if lawmakers are serious about accomplishing what they say they want to accomplish.