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URGENT: MA ZEV Commission Considering Eliminate Tax Credit for Tesla TOMORROW

Discussion in 'New England' started by Pollux, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    Folks,


    There’s a proposal from a staffer at the MA Zero Emission Vehicle Commission to eliminate the MA state tax credit for the purchase of an EV above a certain dollar amount, $60K. I think we can make a difference in this process and I’m asking you to take about 5 minutes of your time right now, this moment, today, to read this email and take a step. We need to take steps TODAY because it turns out that the commission is meeting at 10 am TOMORROW and this proposal is on their agenda!


    Please be polite in your comments on this thread and in whatever you post elsewhere as there is a fellow Tesla owner on the commission and an environmental representative from the Sierra Club who is responsible for their EV initiatives and is friendly to the Tesla community.


    If you want to get right to the steps I’m suggesting, you can skip to NEXT STEPS.


    Here is my perspective:


    1. Funds are not running out in the program. The program is working as it should. Tesla is broadening its offerings to include an SUV (starting to ship in December) and a mass-market offering, the Model 3, to be unveiled as a prototype in the first half of 2016 and anticipated to ship by year’s end 2017. We should be encouraging such offerings, not hindering them. Therefore, there’s no need to take action any time soon.


    2. If somebody feels that it is important for some reason to make a change, I think the proposal to limit state assistance to vehicles based on vehicle MSRP has it all backwards. Instead, assistance should be based on two factors.


    (1) The practicality of the EV in question. The program is trying to accelerate the adoption of alternatives to gas-powered vehicles. But most (all?) EVs today, other than Tesla, are impractical. They have limited range (e.g., <100 miles) and lengthy recharging times. They are unsuitable for travel outside the owner’s local area, therefore limited even within Massachusetts! Assistance from MA should be targeted towards the most practical vehicles, such as those with ranges of 200 miles or more and the ability to recharge rapidly, especially on road trips (Supercharger network, including Superchargers right here in MA at Auburn Mall, Sagamore bridge, Dedham, and nearby in New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont).


    Assistance should be targeted for electric vehicles that can fully REPLACE a gas-powered car, rather than for vehicles that cause owners to rely on having a second, gas-powered car.


    I know a Tesla can replace a gas car, as my 2013 Tesla P85+ replaced my Audi A4.


    Ironically, the commission’s proposal to place a “cap” on the MSRP of an EV that qualifies for the tax credit is predicated in part on the revelation that most Tesla purchasers don’t seriously consider any other electric vehicles. But that’s penalizing the purchasers and the manufacturer for making a great CAR that is actually USABLE as a gas-vehicle replacement! The proposed cap affects these current vehicles: Cadillac ELR, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and BMW i8. But we as owners know that these are not in fact desirable cars. The Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid has limited electric range and relies heavily on its gas engine. The BMW i8 is completely impractical except as a midlife crisis car and has a microscopic electric range, relying on its gas engine; and the Cadillac ELR has its own limitations. The vehicles that continue to be eligible under this proposal are exactly the vehicles that are impractical or rely on gas engines or both.


    (2) The program could also consider the need of the purchaser. For example, the tax credit could be fully available to purchasers with incomes of $200,000 per year or less and then phased out in stages until it hit zero for purchasers with incomes of $300,000 per year or more. Such a structure would help everyone aspire to replace their gas vehicles with the most practical EVs.


    If the ZEV commission were to adopt this approach, it would further be a good idea to RAISE the tax credit to $5,000, since the tax credit would then be better targeted towards the goals of enhancing EV adoption and assisting MA residents in their purchase of such a vehicle. Note that in Louisiana, the current tax credit is $8,000; one would think that Massachusetts has at least equal financial resources to Louisiana.


    NEXT STEPS
    ===========


    1. Look at the attached list of members of the ZEV commission. If you know someone on the commission, please call or write or FAX them. Please feel free to include any/all of the points I’ve made above; best to do it in your own words.


    2. Send an email to the staff person most responsible, Linda Benavides, whose email address is [email protected]. Please remember: be polite!


    3. Join me at the commission meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, November 18, at 10 a.m. The address is:
    100 Cambridge Street
    Boston, MA


    The meeting is being held on the second floor in conference rooms B, C and D.


    The meeting is open to the public but the public does NOT have the opportunity to speak at the meeting.


    If you can’t come to the meeting tomorrow — and, honestly, I have trouble imagining how most people could, with one day’s notice and the meeting happening during the prime working day — but you agree with the direction I’m heading on this issue, then please make me “your delegate”. Send me your name and address and if you can your PICTURE, and I’ll work up some kind of poster or handout for the commission that lists all of us by name and face so that they will know we are speaking out about the issue!


    I’m going to be sitting in the audience with a poster, such as Elon’s Secret Master Plan to get to the Model III, and if I know you are coming to the meeting I’ll bring some extra posters.


    4. Please forward this issue to other owners who you think will care. Non-MA owners can help by tweeting, re-sending, face booking, generally making the news known, and particularly reaching out to other owners in MA.


    Thanks,
    Alan


    Enc.: (1) MA ZEV Commission Members chart and (2) EV CAP proposal


    2015 Massachusetts Zero Emission Vehicle Commission Members

    Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Commission Members named by title in FY2015 Budget outside Section 205
    Members
    Chair, Secretary of EEA or Designee
    Ned Bartlett, Undersecretary
    Assistant Secretary of EEA, Energy
    Ron Gerwatowski
    Assistant Secretary of EEA, Environment
    Dan Sieger
    Secretary of Transportation or Designee
    Rob Garrity
    Commissioner of Energy Resources
    Judith Judson
    Commissioner of MassDEP
    Martin Suuberg
    Deputy Director of the Division of Standards
    Charles Carroll
    Appointed by the Mayor of the City of Boston
    Gina Fiandaca Commissioner of Boston Transportation Department and Vineet Gupta, Director of Planning
    (2) Appointed by Massachusetts Municipal Association
    Andrew Savitz, City of Newton

    ZEV Members Appointed or Nominated for Appointment
    Rep. of the Environmental Community
    Jennifer Rushlow (Conservation Law Foundation)
    Mark LeBel (Acadia Center)
    Gina Coplon-Newfield (Sierra Club)
    Rep. of Business Community
    Jeff Hyman (EMD Serono)
    Mark Foster (Tufts Health)
    Rep. of parking garage or lot owners or operators
    Jong Wai Tomee (Mass Convention Center Authority)
    Rep. of an electric distribution company
    Watson Collins (Eversource Energy)
    Fouad Dagher (National Grid)
    Franchised motor vehicle dealers with Class 1 license (recommended by Mass Autodealers Association)
    Scott Dube (Dube Hyundai)
    Robert Boch (Expressway Toyota)
    Rep. of a municipal light plant organization
    Kim Boas (Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company)
    Rep. of EV charging infrastructure manufacturers
    Colleen Quinn (ChargePoint)
    Dan Shanahan (EVSE LLC)
    Rep. of hydrogen fueling infrastructure manufacturers
    Gus Block (Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc.)
    Rep. of electric or fuel cell vehicle manufacturers
    Kevin Kinnaw (Toyota)
    Tracy Woodard (Nissan)
    Alex Keros (General Motors)

    View attachment mor-ev-cap-proposal-august.pdf View attachment mor-ev-cap-proposal-august.pdf
     
  2. tga

    tga Active Member

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    Did you mean to post this in the detailing/paint protection/tint subforum? I almost missed it. Maybe you should ask a mod (Robert) to move up to the generic NE forum?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also, to your second point - we have heard anecdotally here of a number of buyers who stretched their finances to purchase a Tesla, for many reasons (including your first point - practicality). These are buyers who have never considered cars in this price range.

    People who have stretched to purchase the car could easily benefit from the program, and it isn't a stretch to say that the program could have helped move these buyers into an EV, which is exactly the program's goal.
     
  3. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

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    If the goal is EV adoption, how is income a factor? It's about the # of cars, and more expensive ICE cars tend to be higher polluters from higher resource consumption. As it stands, a fixed dollar amount represents a far higher percentage of a $30,000 car than a $80,000 car. This appears to be more of an attack against Tesla than on principle.
     
  4. ezdiver

    ezdiver Member

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    Here is the email I sent - hope it helps.

    Dear Mrs Benevides,

    I read that the ZEV commission is voting soon on suppressing the tax credits for purchasing electric vehicles above a certain amount.

    I own an electric car, got my employer to purchase another, shared my thoughts on the subject with my neighbor who purchased one himself, and will replace our Volkswagen TDI powered family van with an electric next year, as soon as I can finance it.

    We live in an era where transport is responsible for a sizable part of our climate change, and even more tangibly nuisances from noise and pollution. People who make the effort of replacing their internal combustion engine cars with zero emissions should be encouraged to do so, this directly benefits all of society. It is in the public interest.

    Unfortunately electric cars aren’t cheap. We only wish that more people could afford them, imagine if only half of the vehicles on the road were electric - the noise levels of out communities would be improved dramatically. The air we breathe would be cleaner. Our dependency on foreign oil imports would ease, and this would help us balance the U.S. economy as a whole.

    We are at the start of the electric vehicle market. There are a handful of electric car makers, the choice is limited, and it is not well known in the general public that electric vehicles exist, that some can be a credible alternative to gasoline powered cars, and that the range and performance of these vehicles make them practical also for long trips with only minor compromises. Bringing the cost of electric vehicles down will happen when production volume goes up, it's happening very slowly, and every effort should be made to foster this change. It is not impossible for automobile manufacturers to fail - even major groups face major competition. New entrants on this market, who grab premium marketshare from traditional manufacturers, are seriously bashed and jostled in the media to fight back change. Even if this change is necessary for our society.

    Zero emissions is not for the wealthy - this should be affordable for all. Every little incentive, every bit of help that will allow more people to go electric is good for all of us. We all would benefit from having as many electric vehicles on the roads as possible, to get rid of as much cancer-causing airborne particulate matter from diesel engines, NOx and CO2 emissions, and engine noise.

    Some can afford expensive cars, and that’s fine, they don’t need public subsidies to help them. Capping the credits based on a family’s income would maximise the return you get for ZEV allocated funds, targeting the help where it’s needed most.

    Please do consider the world we will leave our children and grandchildren with - it is only loaned to us and we are to preserve and improve it for them. We owe it to them because we love them.

    Many thanks,

    With respectful consideration,

    Eric Zucker
    Switzerland
     
  5. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    Email sent. I asked them instead of instituting a cap based on price, to do it based on EV only range. Cars with less than 150 miles of EV only range would get less incentive than cars with greater than 150 miles EV only range. Gotta incentivize the right things. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    Oy. I thought I was putting it in a general forum for Tesla Motors issues, not specific to which model car.

    But I see the thread got moved to NE anyway, so some nice person has already done me a favor.

    Yes, I agree with you about people who stretched. IMHO, people who stretched are extremely important. Based on an email thread I started with some local owners, I think we have a few of those stories. I'm catching up on this forum thread right now, maybe there are some others to be had.

    Thanks!

    Alan


    - - - Updated - - -

    I think there is an issue of "optics", how it "looks" to have "rich people" benefit from the state tax credit.

    I think my response is essentially two part, although perhaps a bit more elaborate when finally sent in:

    (1) It ain't broke; nothing to fix here.

    (2) If something MUST be changed, change it to track with income level rather than car price or manufacturer. (Technically, the proposal triggers based on car price.) If funds are running dry (they aren't) or people are really concerned that it's so awful that a "rich person" might be benefiting (not sure concern is genuinely widespread), then focus the state tax credit so that it is tied to income level. The stretchers would benefit the most (I hope).

    Alan


    - - - Updated - - -

    Love it! Thank you!

    @ezdiver - any chance you have a tie to Massachusetts? An address? An old school or work connection? A deep emotional connection to the Red Sox?

    Thanks,
    Alan

    - - - Updated - - -

    Great! Thanks!

     
  7. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    Change the proposal so that it's tax free on the FIRST 60k and it gets closer to the intent, imho. It levels the benefit to the tax payers without penalizing someone from buying a Tesla. Personally I agree with you and that Tesla has the only practical BEV that can replace an ICE car today. The others are all hybrids.
     
  8. PeterK

    PeterK Model S Owner

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    Sent this morning, about a half hour before the hearing. I highly recommend the Wait But Why piece I linked to. I assume most of us have read Elon's Secret Master Plan.

    Ms. Benevides:
    Unfortunately I am unable to attend today's hearing but I wanted to add my thoughts to the discussion. I have previously attended and/or spoken at State House hearings on auto franchise dealership regulations, EV charging infrastructure, EV access to carpool lanes and carbon pricing because as the father of five young children sustainability is an important issue for me.

    I understand how important optics are to political decision-making, but ask that the committee assessing this program looks beyond the optics to the true objectives of the program: to encourage EV adoption and thus prime the development pump of this nascent industry, to shift to more sustainable transport and reduce the carbon footprint of the Commonwealth and ultimately the world.

    Imposing an arbitrary vehicle price cutoff would impair that effort. I understand the desire to do so, having read countless comments responding to articles about Tesla with complaints about their taxes subsidizing wealthy people's purchases of their expensive cars. But what these people fail to grasp is that Tesla is the primary force driving the industry to change to electric drive, by concretely demonstrating the advantages thereof, not just making a city compliance car. Before the Model S, no one believed an EV could be a credible alternative to a normal car. I know first-hand that it is, having driven mine 38,000 miles since March 2013, many of them on trips around New England with 3, 4 or even all 5 children, instead of driving our minivan. See (How Tesla Will Change The World - Wait But Why) for an interesting piece that clearly lays out Tesla's impact on the industry and environment.

    New technologies usually start out at the high end with lower volumes, the high prices and growing volume funding development of lower-priced mass-market versions. This is true not only of electronics like flat screen TVs, PCs and cellphones, but also auto safety advances like airbags, antilock brakes, automatic stability control and auto accident avoidance. Tesla is following this path, laid out in CEO Elon Musk's Secret Master Plan (The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me) | Tesla Motors). In the case of Tesla the now discontinued Roadster as well as Model S and now Model X sales are funding buildout of sales/service and fast charging infrastructure as well as technology advances. All of which will benefit buyers of the upcoming Model 3 which will start at $35,000. Sales of Teslas now will therefore have impact on MA's objectives far greater than their numbers.

    If the committee wants to limit tax credits to wealthy buyers of Teslas or other high-priced EVs, then I suggest you impose an annual taxpayer income cap on the credit, not a car price. Most Tesla owners I know would never have spent that much on any other car (my previous car purchases were less than half the price of my Model S). While I could afford my upcoming Model X with or without the state credit which didn't exist when I got my Model S, many of those owners have saved and stretched out use of their prior cars for years in order to get their Model S, so the MOR-EV credit is important to their purchase decision. Tesla and EVs are facing enough obstacles and organized resistance from the industry as it is, please don't make their mission of sustainable transport any harder to achieve.

    Thank you for reading this. Please feel free to quote this letter in committee discussions or to share with committee members. And please contact me with any questions you might have.
    -Peter

    Peter Kirby
    Cambridge, MA USA
     
  9. ezdiver

    ezdiver Member

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    @ezdiver - any chance you have a tie to Massachusetts? An address? An old school or work connection? A deep emotional connection to the Red Sox?

    Thanks,
    Alan

    Sorry, can't think of any... does the fact that I spent two years at the Swiss equivalent of the MIT count :) ?

    I was born in Englewood, New Jersey, but left the USA age 2, and lived in or near Switzerland ever since.
     
  10. AWDtsla

    AWDtsla Active Member

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    #10 AWDtsla, Nov 20, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
    What was the outcome?
     
  11. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    Hi, folks,

    Sorry I didn't respond more quickly.

    The meeting took place at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The meeting room was packed. The commission sat at around the edges of a large square table constructed from small tables that had been arranged at the edges of the room, with a large hole in the middle. Many of the commissioners were hard to see from the public viewing chairs, which were arranged off to one side. There was also a commissioner (or two?) on a teleconference line.

    The first topic of discussion was the proposal for an MSRP cap on the MOR-EV rebates. MSRP cap set to $60K, i.e., any EV with a price of $60K or above wouldn't qualify for the current rebate. Funds in the current program are projected to run out in January, 2016.

    Lot of discussion about a survey/analysis that purported to reveal that Tesla owners didn't care about the rebate and that potential Tesla buyers wouldn't be influenced by the presence or absence of the rebate. There was also discussion about the importance of making EVs available to the under-served, lower-income population. While I am somewhat progressive in my values (along with being a self-identified capitalist and a technologist-wannabe), I found this logic puzzling. I'd've said that there are families making $40K, $50K, $60K who could stretch maybe with the help of the rebate to afford a Tesla or another EV and then make good use of it. I have a tough time believing that today's EVs are a good fit for the low-income population, as with the exception of Tesla you generally need an ICE along with the EV.

    Ultimately, there was a confusing (to me) vote on whether to move forward with future discussion of this proposal. The vote was counted and re-counted a couple of times, apparently because not everyone was being counted. It was a close vote. But ultimately the vote was to NOT move forward with the proposal. That doesn't mean it can't come up again, but at the very least, it's not moving forward at the moment.

    I did get some interesting feedback from a few sources that suggested to me that Tesla owner / wannabe-owner input played a significant role in the commission's ultimate decision. I think there was a certain sense of surprise -- maybe widespread -- at how much email suddenly deluged the commission.

    Very cool! My hat's off to all of you, and I thank you for all the help/support in bringing some contrary (but polite) opinions to the commission!

    Alan



     
  12. ajay

    ajay Member

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    #12 ajay, Nov 21, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
    About that survey

    I remember taking a MOR-EV survey, and I assume those are the survey results discussed. I don't remember the wording specifically, but I remember thinking the questions were a bit limited in their scope and the data analysis could be problematic. In other words, I don't think the survey as answered is giving them the data they are interpreting. IIRC, there was a question like "did the rebate allow you to purchase a car you might not have otherwise?" or some equivalent of "did the rebate influence your decision?" Well, honestly, no, but that's because 1) I was already serious about getting a BEV, 2) I bought a Smart, 3) $2500 is not enough to fill in the difference between a Smart and a Model S (though it did help me justify getting the nifty tech package). Perhaps I'm looking at it wrong, but if you're buying a new car, $2500 is probably not a make-or-break amount when it comes to purchase or getting a loan, and less so when the car itself is over $60K. I think it's a mistake to assume that because of this, the rebate is inconsequential. If that's hard to grasp, I'll happily take your $2500 check if that helps illustrate my point.

    I remember thinking there were a few questions that were a bit "off" on the survey. I answered it honestly. Perhaps I should have lied.

    ETA: for clarity, I understand the grumbling and optics challenges. I favor a model a bit like California's: a rebate in a certain income range, where those below the range (in CA's case, I think it's 3X poverty level) get an increased subsidy and those above the range are not eligible. Or even have a range where the rebate is phased out to zero. But if the problem is rebates for those with high income, then make the rebate income dependent or give it to folks in the form of a tax deduction (subject to the same income restrictions). Don't go by car price.
     
  13. AWDtsla

    AWDtsla Active Member

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    Speaking for myself, I would have never bought a car this expensive if it wasn't a Tesla. Part of the justification is I know the margin is going directly to funding mass market EV's, especially true on the optioned out model. Per investment or donation dollar that I could provide, I feel this is the most effective use that I know of. There is no other EV currently on the market I would buy. If the incentives disappeared I would think much harder about whether I should have done this. The car is basically $150k after taxes in this state, forget about multi-thousand dollar electrical work many people have to do. The fact that the state is encouraging it in itself factors into the decision.
     
  14. PeterK

    PeterK Model S Owner

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    I agree completely. The federal and now state tax incentives are not financially make-or-break on my purchase. But they do have a major impact on my decision - particularly for my Model S configuration order nearly three years ago. Then and still now an EV purchase is a significant risk, and knowing that the federal and MA governments are investing to drive the market in this direction validates my decision.
     

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