Fiscal Cliff bill extends electric motorcycle tax credit

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“This amendment helps promote the development of a promising U.S. industry and support the transition to a low-carbon American economy,” states Ron Wyden (D-Ore), the chief proponent of the amendment that was passed by Congress with the so called “Fiscal Cliff bill” late yesterday. The provision extends the 10 percent Federal tax credit for two- and three-wheeled vehicles a further two years.

Above: one of the Empulse’s batteries being assembled at the firm’s factory.

“The electric motorcycle industry is poised to create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs over the next five years, led by companies like Oregon’s Brammo,” continues Wyden.

According to his office, “Wyden’s amendment combined existing tax credits for all electric vehicles to one credit that includes electric motorcycles. It specifically eliminated low speed vehicles like electric golf carts from being eligible for the consolidated tax credit. The renewed credit will provide up to a $2500 tax credit to customers for the purchase of an electric motorcycle. The electric motorcycle industry is expected to create nearly 2,000 jobs in just the next 18 months and more than 16,000 jobs over the next 5 years.”

Offered by Wyden and supported by both Rep Greg Walden (R-Ore) and Sen Jeff Merkley (D-Ore), it looks like Oregon lawmakers are really getting behind the state’s burgeoning electric vehicle manufacturing segment. Brammo is based in Ashland, Oregon.

“Bottom line is, this is a very good thing for a very critical year for Brammo and the broader EV industry,” Brammo’s CEO Craig Bramscher told us this morning. “Batteries are still expensive, and this allows consumers to be on the cutting edge without bleeding.”

The entire bill can be read here.

  • Andrew Haala

    “Batteries are still expensive, and this allows consumers to be on the cutting edge without bleeding.”

    I feel like this deserves a *snap*.

    • Wes Siler

      You go, girlfriend.

    • thumpthump

      i.e. battery-pwered bikes are still a money-losing proposition, and “this” lets me be on the cutting edge without having to pay for the consequences. i want premium cable channels too, won’t someone see the wisdom of paying for my movies for me?

  • Blue Milew

    Subsidizing inferiority?

    • Ricardo Gozinya

      It’s nothing new, the government has been subsidzing Lockheed Martin for decades.

    • protomech

      Subsidizing promising technology to lower the barriers to entry.

  • 655321

    While Brammo is based in Oregon (which must be where all the high-paid suits live and work) this tax credit will not benefit the American middle class worker one bit. The Enertia and Empulse, for example, are manufactured by Singapore-based Flextronics in Hungary.

    • Wes Siler

      Brammo plans to make its products close to their point of sale. So all Empulses and Enertias and whatever for America, that benefit from the tax break, are and will be made in Oregon. Unlike other EV companies, Brammo also makes its own batteries there. Flextronics gives them the ability to make products for Europe, in Europe or products for Asia, in Asia.

      • Noah Porter

        “in Europe or products for Asia, in Asia.” which contains a larger portion of the world’s motorcycle riding population

        • Wes Siler

          Last I checked, tax credits for American tax payers buying products in America didn’t apply to consumers in Asia.

      • thumpthump

        How exactly do products “whatever for America…” benefit from a tax break? Lazy writing…. Brammo (ergo its owners) benefits from selling subsidized products that otherwise would be too expensive, as does their supply chain.

      • 655321

        So the Empulses and Enertias that you can buy in the U.S. were manufactured in Oregon? If that’s so, I can better understand the credit (though as a libertarian I don’t support corporate welfare).

        • Brammofan

          Yes – my Enertia was built in Ashland, Oregon and the Empulses currently ridden in the U.S. by their owners were manufactured there, too.

    • Wes Siler
      • 655321

        It only took me 18 days to get around to it, but I just read that article. The Oregon politician who pushed for the tax credit states that it’ll create 16K jobs in the next 5 years. It’s easy to say that but why should we believe it? Why would U.S. manufacturing be any more competitive in 5 years? I believe it’d still be cheaper for them to import bikes made in Hungary to the U.S. and as far as what I’ve read there’s nothing that states the tax credit will only apply to electric motorcycles manufactured in the U.S.

  • KeithB

    “Subsidizing inferiority?”

    No…subsidizing “Made in America”.
    I thought Americans were all about the Made in USA thing.
    You know, “more jobs for us and less work going off shore”.

    At least the government is helping with some kind of new manufacturing.
    Maybe later, more subsidies will be available to more start ups as it becomes clearer which ones are quality and which are not.

    We don’t really have any decent e bike manufacturing here in Canada and would be grateful for any financial help to get one going.
    We do have an e car manufacturer but they can’t sell to the Canadian market. WTF!

    • thumpthump

      “as it becomes clearer which ones are quality…”

      sorry k, government is an investment idiot (here, Canadia, wherever), whatever it tries to invest in.

      funding for your bikes of the future won’t be on the basis of “quality” it will be the basis of who jerked who. the ideal of a noble selfless beaureaucrat interested only in the greater good and able to divine the best net/net technology is a fantasy — they are self-innerested schmucks like all of us.

      why not let us, the bike-buying populace, decide what we will or will not pay for? e-bikes are fine for some but very impractical for most. why should i, as a net texpayer, subsidize your or anyoneelse’s fetish of a nice 60-mile whizzer bike?

      • protomech

        Currently we as a nation (US) significantly subsidize our entire oil infrastructure, both through direct subsidies to oil companies, free passes on future and limited liability agreements on present environmental damage, and taxpayer-funded DOD expeditions in the middle east.

        We’re drilling for more oil in the US than ever before, which has a direct effect of increasing our energy independence. Shifting transportation energy consumption from oil to grid power fueled by domestic coal, natural gas, nuclear fission, hydro and other renewables similarly has a direct effect of increasing our energy independence.

        As an EV enthusiast, I’d love to see all subsidies removed for both gas and electric.

        • thumpthump

          agreed that all subsidies should be removed.

          • Brammofan

            Without subsidies, I wonder how they would have built the railroads.

            • thumpthump

              So, to paraphrase, “nothing good and useful gets done without government subsidies”? Seriously?

              Model T’s? Apple? I’m talking only about the original entrepreneurs, not the current business models.

              Did Brammo start up with the idea that riders would only buy their bikes if there was a subsidy? I bet dollars to donuts that the answer is NO, unless they are far more cynical than I like to believe.

              The railroad (as would any other useful innovation) would have developed on their own, albeit differently, without subsidies. I’m sure of that, because you and I both can see what we think is a good thing on our own, and if so we’d pay for it on our own, right?

              If not,the subsidy is just a bonus for something you want anyway, and I think you can pay for your hobbies on your own same as I do.

            • Grey Winters

              It’s called the free market. It always meets demand, that is if there is a demand, if not the government who uses subsidies to control the market plus mandates or dictates that force people into using products that have no demand. Look at ethanol!

  • protomech

    The US has a great deal of skin in the game, given the maneuvers of various nations for resources (primarily oil) around the world. Why do you think we give a rip about the Middle East? It’s not because we like the people..

    Developing electric powertrains is a long-term natural security win.

    The subsidy is set by Congress, which is certainly an elected body.

    I invested my money. In a couple of months I’ll have a year and almost 9000 gas-free miles on the bike.