A bill has been introduced into the Ohio Senate that would help defray the costs of buying a new electric vehicle in the state.
Co-sponsored by Senators O’Brien (Democrat) and Rulli (Republican), the bill is a bipartisan effort to, as stated by Sen. O’Brien, “make Ohio the leader in the electric vehicle industry.” A recent announcement by General Motors to build an EV battery manufacturing hub point to the increased economic opportunities for communities that support the EV supply chain (as outlined in a Blue Green Alliance and NRDC study).
The bill would provide rebates for EVs and EV infrastructure for buyers in OH, primarily via sales tax rebate at the time of sale. The key provisions are as follows:
- Personal Vehicles – buyers of new personal vehicles will receive a $500 credit sales tax credit at the time of sale of the vehicle. This means that there is no wait for a rebate; the $500 will be deducted at the time of purchase. Buyers are limited to one vehicle EV credit per year, per person.
- Fleet Vehicles – managers of vehicle fleets can receive $1000 in sales tax credit at the time of sale of the vehicle, similar to the system for personal vehicles. The bill would allow up to 10 vehicles per year, per company, to receive this credit.
- Charging infrastructure – individuals or companies that build EV charging stations are eligible for $1500 in sales tax credit. The sponsors have stated that this credit, unlike the vehicle credits, may be taken at time of purchase or credit to future tax years, given that it is unlikely that $1500 in sales tax will be assessed at the time of purchase. We anticipate a discussion in the legislative process about the number of credits available per year, and if the size of the charging build affects the credit.
- Sunsetting – the bill is designed to provide a jump start (pun intended) to EV sales in OH and are not planned to be permanent, so the terms of it are set to expire five years after taking effect.
- Brand agnostic –The bill is brand agnostic, so as long as the purchase is a battery-only vehicle or a battery charging station, it is covered. There is a open question if any incentives will be provided for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
EV purchase incentives are a good way to support the development of emission-free vehicles, and state-level work like this bill is important given the federal governments failure to extend the federal EV credit. Ohioans would greatly benefit from the cleaner air, cheaper electricity, and industrial expansion of the clean vehicles sector, and all of us would benefit from the reduction in greenhouse gases.
Given that Ohio has, unfortunately, a large EV tax of $200/year, this bill would help lower- and middle-income folks with the initial cost of ownership of an EV, and would provide helpful incentive for businesses to either purchase EVs and/or build the kind of EV infrastructure that would serve Ohioans and those visiting the state.