The vast majority of vehicles that qualify for Inflation Reduction Act incentives are PHEVs instead of fully electric vehicles.
One of the most consistent criticisms of electric vehicles is their high upfront cost compared to gas and hybrid alternatives. However, according to market research completed by Recurrent Auto, as more and more new EVs have entered the market, used electric vehicles have finally decreased in price this September. However, Inflation Reduction Act funds created to help make these used electric vehicles more affordable, mainly apply to plug-in hybrid vehicles instead.
In their Q4 Market Report, Recurrent found that the automotive market has generally begun to cool off, with used cars nearing last year’s prices. And while used EV prices have been “more resilient” (remaining more expensive), according to the report, they too have declined in price.
One influential factor regarding used EV prices has been the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA stipulates that “EVs” with a battery of at least 7kWh, new or used, are eligible for federal incentives to varying degrees. While this was a significant move in helping buyers purchase vehicles in the price range with the highest demand, between $10-15,000 for electric vehicles, other stipulations in the Act mean that most fully electric vehicle models don’t qualify.
The IRA stipulates that used “EVs” (electrified vehicles) must be sold for under $25,000 to qualify, but this only accounts for what Recurrent says is ~12% of used EVs (fully electric vehicles) on the market. In contrast, countless used PHEVs can be purchased under the price cap.
According to the report, “the biggest beneficiaries of the used EV tax credit in 2023 may not be those vehicles that most people think of as EVs. Fifty percent of the cars that meet the price requirement for the used tax credit are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).” In making more fully electric vehicles qualify under the current standards, Recurrent points out that manufacturers must expand EV options and begin to produce affordable options for the U.S. market.
This is not the only criticism leveled at the Inflation Reduction Act in recent months. Manufacturers and governments worldwide have labeled the new EV funding everything from “contradictory” to “discriminatory,” mainly regarding the Act’s requirement for U.S. assembly of new EVs to receive incentives.
Nonetheless, demand for EVs and used EVs remains high. Recurrent points to the growing percentage of electric vehicles on American roads, particularly in California, as proof of this fact. But buyers are also being pushed more than ever to consider EVs as gas prices remain elevated, following news that OPEC has cut oil production.
It remains unclear how the market will change or if the IRA will be altered as demand shifts to more electrified vehicles in the coming quarter. Still, if Tesla and other manufacturer sales data are to be any indicator, fully electric vehicle sales will likely remain unhampered. Hopefully, with the introduction of more EV models at more price ranges, used electric vehicle prices can work towards price parity with used ICE/hybrid counterparts.