Today, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act which seems like a good thing for EVs and clean energy at first. However, a look at the bill itself takes us into a rabbit hole that smells of fossil fuels and dealership lobbying.
By changing the very definition of electric vehicles of clean vehicles, the Inflation Reduction Act is showing its support for fossil fuels. Let’s take a look at a thread shared by @WholeMarsBlog who took a deep dive into the Inflation Reduction Act.
How Dealerships benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act
As @WholeMarsBlog pointed out in his thread, the Inflation Reduction Act will allow dealerships to benefit from a subsidy. If a consumer purchases an EV from a dealership, they will be able to transfer that tax credit to a dealership.
This will be the only way they can benefit from that tax credit as direct-to-consumer doesn’t qualify.
This gives dealerships an edge over direct-to-consumer sales by allowing consumers to receive a lower monthly payment than ordering directly from a manufacturer such as Tesla or Rivian.
However, it doesn’t make sense to subsidize an industry that is known for dishonest tactics and treating American consumers badly.
Allowing fossil-fueled vehicles to be “clean vehicles”
A vehicle with an internal combustion engine and a small battery is now considered a “clean vehicle” by this bill. Plug-in hybrid EVs have been touted as a cleaner version of the ICE vehicle because it has a battery and can be charged.
However, these are still fossil-fueled powered vehicles and discourage the sales of actual clean vehicles. As @WholeMarsBlog said, “Why buy an F-150 Lightning when an F-150 hybrid qualifies, too?” He also pointed out that hydrogen cars are also now subsidized.
Battery Minerals need to be sourced domestically
This is done in a very tricky way to make it look like the EV tax credit is being extended, but in reality fossil fuel powered hybrids will qualify while electric vehicles will not.
this is so wrong. if people don't plug in these cars they generate MORE emissions due to weight
— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) August 7, 2022
Rivian and Lucid along with other automakers will lose their $7,500 tax credit next year due to these battery sourcing requirements making it impossible for any full EV to qualify.
This is why it’s so important for automakers to partner with their domestic suppliers. Talon Metals’ Chief External Affairs Officer & Head of Climate Strategy, Todd Malan spoke with me at length on this topic and you read his thoughts here.
Benchmark Minerals’ take on the Inflation Reduction Act
— 🔋 The Limiting Factor 🔋 (@LimitingThe) August 7, 2022
Benchmark Minerals published an article on what the Inflation Reduction act means for the EV battery supply chain and I think it’s important to consider some of the points they’ve made.
Simon Mores, CEO of Benchmark said that it’s almost impossible that any of the Fair Trade Alliance countries are able to fill China’s raw material gap for our EV demand between now and 2024.
“The presently proposed $7,500 credit for those EVs that do not contain any critical minerals from China or Russia will effectively be made redundant, considering the proposal ends in 2024 just when a domestic supply chain is beginning to gain momentum.”
“It is almost impossible that any Fair Trade Alliance countries – of which Australia and Chile are the stand out – could fill China’s raw material gap for the USA’s EV demand between now and 2024.”
“This is considering the basic lack of raw material supply in many markets and the fact that most future raw material has already been contracted and accounted for.”
“If the US wants the incentive to really work, it needs to extend this by 4 years to 2028 so the battery supply chain builds into the incentive.”
With this thought in mind, @WholeMarsBlog pointed out that smaller batteries could meet the percentage requirements while larger batteries powering the entire vehicle can not. In other words, this opens the door for plug-in hybrid EVs to meet the rising demand for clean vehicles.
I think it’s important to note these flaws in the bill, but I also think that we do need a stronger U.S. battery supply chain. However, we shouldn’t sacrifice EVs for fossil fuels to get that stronger supply chain.
I’ve always thought that it was silly to include plug-in hybrid vehicles as a “clean vehciel” when they use both batteries and fossil fuels. Hybrids are great for those who want both options. I’ve also heard the arguments that they are more affordable than a Tesla, but it’s 2022 and if someone is in the market for a new car, there are options for a variety of EVs.
I think @WholeMarsBlog made an excellent point. I think Todd Malan made excellent points as well. At the end of the day, however, politricksters will politrick. The fact that they all agreed on this bill is, I think, kind of shocking.
Disclaimer: Johnna is long Tesla.