The highly anticipated 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, slated to hit showrooms before the end of the year, is looking to make inroads in the electrical vehicle (EV) market through a competitive price tag of $37,495. The vehicle also boasts a 238-mile range at full charge to soothe those with range anxiety—a common fear among drivers unfamiliar with electric vehicles. Early test-drivers of the Bolt have praised its responsiveness and drivability.

Still, one of the most attractive features about the car may be the $7,500 federal tax credit it comes with.

The federal government provides tax credits for the purchase of plug-in electric vehicles up to a ceiling limit of $7,500—which the Bolt, with its 60-kilowatt-hour battery, qualifies for. States often provide additional credits for the benefit of consumers as well, to encourage the shift to zero-emission vehicles.

EV proponents are struggling to inform consumers about these tax credits. In fact, a spring 2016 survey of California drivers found that three-quarters of respondents “weren’t aware of the state and federal tax credits available to EV buyers—which together could drop the vehicle’s price by more than $10,000.” And yet, even without this knowledge, 55 percent of the California drivers surveyed said they would likely consider an EV for their next automobile purchase. Imagine how many more drivers would consider buying electric vehicles if they were aware of the awaiting tax credits.

Many consumers are also unaware of just how much money they will save by driving a plug-in electric vehicle. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the Chevy Bolt would save a typical driver $4,000 in fuel costs over the course of five years when compared to an average, gasoline-powered vehicle.

And of course, electric vehicles can play an essential role in reducing our carbon footprint. The Union of Concerned Scientists has published a lifecycle analysis of EVs, cataloguing the amount of carbon they emit starting from material extraction to refinement, manufacture, usage, and disposal. The report showed that battery electric vehicles (also known as all-electric cars) like the Bolt, “make up for their higher manufacturing emissions within eighteen months of driving … and continue to outperform gasoline cars until the end of their lives.”


Author: Dylan Ruan