Kicking Tires, by way of Autoblog, explains that the proposed credit would apply to plug-in hybrid vehicles with batteries of at least 5 kWh. Starting at $3,000, the credit increases in increments of $200 for each kilowatt hour over five and maxes out at $5,000. Being that the 2011 Chevy Volt is currently the only plug-in hybrid confirmed for sale, GM stands to gain most from this little post-script to HB 6899 to the tune of a $5,000 credit. No wonder Toyota is complaining that the wording of the bill reserves the best of the credits for only the Volt.
The bill passed the House, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where an alternate version is in the works. The Senate version would give drilling even more leeway than the House's expansion beyond a 50-mile coastal buffer. It might also raise the credits for alternative vehicles; GM's Bob Lutz told TheCarConnection.com yesterday that his company was looking for higher incentives for the Volt to be feasible--$7,500 in tax credits--and GM's good connections in Washington are likely hard at work on a back channel.--Colin Mathews