Over the years, automakers have invested billions of dollars into studies and research in an attempt to build the best electric vehicle, and as a result, electric vehicles have become more attractive and affordable for the average driver. The cost of an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) are usually higher than a gas powered vehicles, but there are some federal and state electric car tax credits and incentives that can bring the upfront cost down. The Plug-In Electric Motor Vehicle Tax Credit is the main federal program for electric cars in the United States. Under this program, a new electric vehicle is eligible for a tax credit as long as it meets the federal electric car tax credit criteria. The federal tax credit applies to both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The amount you can claim varies based on the vehicle model.
California is a leader in clean vehicle adoption with more plug-in electric vehicles on its roadways than any other state. This move away from gasoline and diesel brings environmental and economic benefits, including less air pollution and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. As long as funds are available, eligible California residents can apply for a Clean Vehicle Rebate (CVR) after purchasing or leasing an eligible vehicle.
It’s been thirty years since the first lithium-ion battery cell was used in camcorders, laptops and cell phones, and in those thirty years there have been fires. In 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation jointly banned the shipment of lithium-ion batteries as cargo on passenger airplanes, and limited how they can be shipped on cargo aircraft, after several incidents were linked to battery fires. Now that they are in much larger products, like automobiles, battery fires draw even more media attention, especially when they occurred while vehicles are parked inside a garage.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV battery recall is one of the recalls that received a large amount of publicity for risk of fires. One case documented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration talks about a Bolt that caught fire in a home where firefighters spent an hour trying to put out the flames. The fire restarted an hour later and reignited a third time after it was towed to a dealership. General Motors traced the problem to a manufacturing defect at the plant which supplied defective batteries that resulted in the Hyundai Kona EV recall as well. Ford recently recalled a small number of 2021-2022 Ford Escape and 2022 Lincoln Corsair hybrid power-train SUVs because the high voltage battery could experience an overheat situation, and Tesla cars have also, been investigated for fires. The most recent recall for battery problems affects certain 2017-2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid vehicles that could experience a fire, even with the ignition in the “OFF” mode.
Many plug-in electric vehicle fire incidents have taken place since the production of plug-in electric vehicles. As a result of these incidents, the United States, Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts studies to establish whether lithium-ion batteries in plug-electric vehicles pose an exceptional fire hazard. The research looks into whether the high-voltage batteries can cause fires when they are being charged and when the vehicles are involved in an accident. The NHTSA “Battery Safety Initiative” for Electric Vehicles works to coordinate research and other activities to address safety risks relating to batteries in electric vehicles. They continue to examine data related to electric vehicle battery safety, field incidents and conduct special investigations of electric vehicle crash and non-crash events, to ensure that electric and hybrid vehicles don’t pose an unnecessary risk for drivers.