One of the first big lessons I learned as an electric car early adopter didn’t happen out on the road but rather in my tax guy’s office. The lesson was this: if you are going to buy a clean car vehicle, plan ahead.

Like many folks, I was counting on a number of tax credits and rebates to help me afford the Nissan Leaf. I have already received the state of California’s 2,500 dollar rebate (it took a little over two months). Also, Nissan sent me a $700 rebate to pay me back for having a fast charging port installed on my Leaf. Although there are no fast chargers out there yet, I guess it’s going to come in handy one day. But what I might not get is the federal tax credit.

2011 EV tax creditI thought the clean car federal tax credit of $7,500 for EVs was like the home buyers’ credit from last year or like California’s solar panel credit — but it is not a refund credit. You have to set it up so you owe the federal government an amount, then they will take if off. I didn’t do that so after an early December tax appointment I rushed to increase my exemptions for my last two paychecks of the year. I scrambled to see where I could get some other income. Anyway, I am probably not going to even get half the credit which makes my Leaf much more expensive than I originally planned for. I blame myself for not researching this but it’s all a bit confusing. I also had not planned ahead on a home charger. I had PG&E come out to do a required EV inspection but I did not buy a charger before I bought the car. Thus my new shiny Leaf sat in my driveway, unused, for a few weeks.

Monday I’ll explain how I picked my home charger and how I got it and the installation for free.

See other posts from this series.

Life With The Leaf: Missing Out On The Federal Tax Credit 30 April,2013Andrea Kissack


Andrea Kissack

Andrea has nearly three decades of experience working as a reporter, anchor, producer and editor for public radio, large market television news and CBS radio. In her current role as KQED’s Sr. Science Editor, Andrea helps lead a talented team covering science, technology, health and the environment for broadcast and digital platforms. Most recently she helped KQED launch a new, multimedia initiative covering the intersection of technology, health and medical science. She has earned a number of accolades for her work including awards from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Associated Press. Her work can be seen, and heard, on a number of networks, Including NPR, PBS, CBS and the BBC.

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