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Asia Minute: Electric vehicles of many Asian automakers ineligible for tax incentives

hyundai electric car ev car
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Hyundai Kona Electric is displayed during the media preview of the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Chicago. (AP photo/Nam Y. Huh)

If you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle, there’s a tax incentive to encourage you. It’s part of the Inflation Reduction Act President Biden signed into law this week. But those tax breaks exclude some well-known brands from Asia.

The Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Group is a major player when it comes to electric vehicle sales in the United States.

During the second quarter, its U.S. market share of 9% of all-electric vehicles was second only to Tesla — which had a whopping share of nearly 70%.

But none of those Hyundai or Kia vehicles will be eligible for tax incentives — because they’re not assembled in North America.

Hyundai does manufacture vehicles at a plant in Alabama — but not electric ones.

Later this year, the plant will start producing a hybrid model, but a fully electric vehicle plant in Georgia won’t be finished until 2025.

Japanese automakers are also affected.

Toyota makes electric vehicles — but not in North America.

Nissan has been assembling its electric Leaf model in Smyrna, Tennessee for more than four years — so that will qualify for the tax credit.

A spokesperson for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association told Reuters it “will keep a close watch on future developments” — and will respond accordingly.

Other rules about the tax incentive will shift in January, from the price of vehicles to the household income of the buyers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy has posted a list of electric vehicle models now eligible for tax breaks on its website.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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