Electric Vehicles

Is this the year you go electric?

It’s fair to say that electric cars have developed a serious following. Whether you’ve been considering one for their “cool” factor or the opportunity they present to cut back on your carbon emissions, this year, you may be able to electrify your car with help from the U.S. government.

Many Americans now qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 for buying a new electric vehicle (EV), depending on the make and model. The credit, part of changes enacted in the Inflation Reduction Act, is designed to spur EV sales and reduce greenhouse emissions. There are some restrictions, however, including income limits (<$150,000 for single filers; <$300,000 for joint filers) and vehicle price. Cars that cost more than $55,000 aren’t eligible, nor are vans or trucks that cost more than $80,000. Eligible vehicles must also be assembled in North America. A complete list of eligible vehicles can be found here.

If you’ve been eyeing an EV and meet credit requirements, now may be the time to act. According to the Washington Post, “Beginning in about March, the $7,500 credit will be split into two parts: consumers can get a $3,750 credit if the vehicle has a battery containing at least 40 percent critical minerals from the U.S. (or a country that the U.S has a free-trade agreement with) and another $3,750 credit if at least 50 percent of the battery’s components were assembled and manufactured in North America. Those rules haven’t been finalized yet, so the tax credit starting on January 1 is a stopgap measure until the final version is ironed out.” That means there will likely be a wider group of vehicles eligible for the full tax credit now than there will be later in 2023. 

In addition to credits enacted as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, the NJ Board of Public Utilities’ Clean Energy Program also has multiple EV incentive programs to encourage adoption and reduce the state’s transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, its largest emissions source. One of the programs, “Charge Up New Jersey,” offers incentives of up to $4,000 (not subject to income limits) for the purchase or lease of new, eligible, zero-emission vehicles, including battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. For more information, visit www.chargeup.njcleanenergy.com/faqs.

To confirm eligibility and for any questions, please consult with your tax professional.

Embracing an electric future in Westfield

If you’re considering an EV, it may also be comforting to know that Westfield has been a leader in supporting EV charging infrastructure. In the spring of 2021, two chargers were installed in each of the following lots: Lot 1 across from Trader Joe’s, Lot 2 by the North Avenue train station, and Lot 4 behind Baron’s Drugstore. Most recently, two additional chargers were installed in Lot 7 across from the Post Office. The chargers were installed and are maintained at no cost to the Town via advertising revenue from the charging station displays.

Interested in other ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save? 

Westfield residents can improve the comfort and energy-efficiency of their home through an energy audit offered by the Westfield Home Energy Saving Program at a discounted rate of $49. Through the program, Ciel Power specialists evaluate the energy efficiency of your home and offer suggestions for improvements to save on your energy bills, while providing information on potential cash-back incentives.

Westfield residents can visit www.cielpower.com/westfield to schedule a home energy audit.