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Click above for high-res gallery of the 2011 Chevy Volt

Automotive News reports that Toyota is preparing a statement for a congressional hearing on the progress of EVs, the results of which could influence legislation that gives a big $7,500 tax credit to any hybrid with a battery pack rated at 6 kilowatt-hours of electricity or more. Toyota argues that the legislation is too restrictive and redefines what a hybrid is since the only vehicle eligible (that we know about) would be the 2011 Chevy Volt with its 16 killowatt-hour battery pack, though Toyota never calls out the series hybrid by name.

For reference, the current Toyota Prius uses a battery pack that generates 1.3 killowatt-hour, and judging by the Japanese automaker's reaction to this legislation, we doubt that its plug-in hybrid electric Prius currently under development uses a battery pack powerful enough, either. Nevertheless, there could be other hybrids being developed besides the Volt that would be eligible, which would poke a big hole in Toyota's argument. Also, as AutoblogGreen points out, this legislation will likely change many times before it becomes law.

The government is right, however, to put higher restrictions on what is eligible for a tax credit of this size. Current hybrid tax credits have topped out around $3,000, with the largest on record being for the Prius itself at $3,150. If the government is considering offering more than twice that amount for future hybrids, then we think it's fair they raise the bar on what should be eligible.

  • Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman
  • Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman
  • The Chevrolet Volt "Freedom Drive" across the country concludes at Pier 92 during the annual Macy's Independence Day fireworks display over the Hudson River in New York, Sunday, July 4, 2010. The "Freedom Drive" began four days and 1.776 miles ago in Austin, Texas where Chevrolet announced New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas would join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. as launch sites for the Volt later this year. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt "Freedom Drive" across the country concludes at Pier 92 during the annual Macy's Independence Day fireworks display over the Hudson River in New York, Sunday, July 4, 2010. The "Freedom Drive" began four days and 1.776 miles ago in Austin, Texas where Chevrolet announced New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas would join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. as launch sites for the Volt later this year. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet)
  • Chevrolet announces Thursday, July 1, 2010 it is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the launch markets for the Volt electric vehicle. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured here) in front of the Texas State Capital in Austiin, Texas Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for Chevrolet)
  • Chevrolet announces Thursday, July 1, 2010 it is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the launch markets for the Volt electric vehicle. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured here) in front of the Texas State Capital in Austiin, Texas Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt passes a trolley while navigating the steep climbs of the San Francisco Bay area while on an engineering development drive Saturday, April 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt drives near the Golden Gate Bridge while on an engineering development drive in San Francisco, California Saturday, April 25, 2010. The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt navigates the steep climbs of the San Francisco Bay area while on an engineering development drive Saturday, April 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range on display at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range drives through campus at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range drives through campus at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range travels around Pier 92 during a media test drive in New York, NY on Monday, March 29, 2010. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) (3/29/2010)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range travels around Pier 92 during a media test drive in New York, NY on Monday, March 29, 2010. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) (3/29/2010)
  • The first pre-production Chevrolet Volt rolls off the line at the Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant Wednesday, March 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The pre-production versions of the Volt will not be sold at dealerships, but will be used to assure all steps in the production system will meet the quality targets set by the Volt engineering team. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet) (04/01/2010)
  • A Chevrolet Volt battery at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The Chevrolet Volt will offer customers an unprecedented standard 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery. GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation battery testing since 2007. Each Volt battery pack has nine modules and 288 cells. GM designed and engineered 99 percent of the 155 components in each battery. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]


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  • 85 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The comment section needs more flag waivers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Damn straight we are flag wavers.

        Ours are red white and blue.

        You is pure white?

        Toyota and Japan have lied about trade for years. It's so fricking simple. The devalued currency 1995 to bail out their corrupt bankers and stuck us with the bill. You idiots don't understand that their devaluation while running a trade surplus stuck US with the bill. And you clowns want us to pay for it with the entire middle class. Enough is enough. Now they want to dictate government policy and some of you are rolling over?

        Leave. If you don't like a real America, Leave. Just go, What's wrong, you have nowhere to go?

        Cowards
      • 6 Years Ago
      These Japanese have big b*lls. The import auto market is basically closed in Japan and they want to dictate policies to the US government. If I had my way, I would do to them what they do to us.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Since you are such a big kahuna toyota, maybe you should come up with something better than the volt and many others that are about to crash your party.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Toyota is lobbying the US government regarding how we distribute our tax dollars?!! LOL!!

        To understand how our economy has become such a train wreck you only have to look to Washington DC. Toyota attempts such arrogance only because Washington caters to it.
      bornfromjets03
      • 6 Years Ago
      ok toyota, go back to Japan and cry about it!

      This here's Volt country!
        • 6 Years Ago
        @bornfromjets03
        Yea, your right this is Volt Country.....and lagging way behind Volt country.
        bornfromjets03
        • 6 Years Ago
        @bornfromjets03
        Thank you for backing me up vwboyaf1.

        Let me also take this time to reply to s13hybrid and adis by bringing up the GM EV1. Sure GM made the dumb decision to kill it, but the fact that they made it in 1996 (aka before the Prius or Insight) is pretty remarkable, also the fact that GM had celebs drooling over it like they do now over Obama.

        GM scared Japan into making the Prius and Insight, but were to stupid to realize what a jackpot they had hit, and are now playing catch up while trying to integrate new tech to what they already know.

        So we should give GM credit where credit really is due.

        I could go on ranting about Toyota and its double standard but I know none of you would read everything anyways, so I'll spare you the hassle :P
        bornfromjets03
        • 6 Years Ago
        @bornfromjets03
        @ Big J

        I bet you wish your Prius would qualify for this tax break.

        you obviously have no idea where 'born from jets' came from if you're calling me a redneck.
        s13hybrid
        • 6 Years Ago
        @bornfromjets03
        I am not saying Toyota is not complaining to much, but you have to give the Prius some credit. Without it Chevy probably would not have jumped forward with the volt. With out the prius, there would be no proof that a hybrid can do amazingly well (seeing how the honda Insight did not take off), and even if the volt was the first hybrid, it would probably not been a plug in, and as advanced as it is today.

        So don't bite the hand that feeds you, the prius made hybrids main stream, and opened the door for chevy to build the next step up.

        On that note, Toyota does need to calm down, they are mad because now they have some major competition. They need to just do what we all have been telling the american companies to do, build a better car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This sort of posturing takes place all the time. And Toyota has every right to complain--depending on what the US government's goal is with the tax credit. Is the goal to encourage the purchase of more fuel efficient cars or to subsidize a domestic manufacturer (two, actually, as Tesla also qualifies) who can't bring a new product to market affordably? If it's the first, and Toyota can match GM's efficiency with different technology and smaller batteries then they have a case.

      To the person who said it's a privilege to have foreign factories on US soil--that's partly true. But so is having the job these factories provide. Toyota could just as easily employ Mexicans or Canadians and have access to the US market. That they choose to employ Americans isn't a bad thing.

      Finally, what the heck is a "killowatt"? Is that the number of Watts used in electric chairs?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Screw plug in hybrids, electric rates are set to double where I live and who knows how much in the future. In fact screw hybrids altogether. Maybe I would be more interested if we generated more electricity via solar and wind. Now I want a tax credit for riding my 60-70 mpg motorcycle! What kind of tax credit can I get for a bicycle?
      • 6 Years Ago
      When Toyota makes a car that doesn't require seven
      times more gasoline than the Chevy Volt (certainly for commuting, half of our consumption), then perhaps they have a plausible complaint. Their hybird barely has more MPG than the upcoming non-hybrid Chevy Beat. Wht would we want to encourage people to buy Toyota hybrids the same as Volts. Presumably Toyota understands how brainless the media is in this country.
      • 6 Years Ago
      With a 40 mile range, for a normal commute, I won't have to use any
      gas again. This will be cash cow for GM and Toyota is running scared.
      After all the tax breaks they got to build here, (after being forced
      to by local content leglislation)
      and all the subsidies they got from their home country, they now want
      to cry about this?
      I hope it runs the crybabies into the ground so far they never
      recover.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Screw Toyota, the Japanese have been screwing you since the killed the American audio video business in the 70's by stealing the patents, bribing the government and making political threats. Don't back down!

      They use our rules against us and then hide behind their strange preditory semi-capitalist industrial policies on the home front. Read "Agents of Influence" 1990 Author Pat Choate.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Priuses are imported. they should have a tax credit. Volt should be the only one to have tax credit because it's going to be the only one made in America.
        • 6 Years Ago
        JD: lol. I am just shedding my view- ZR1 has more of a 'blind loyalty' thing.

        and for my 1st comment- I meant *shouldn't*
          • 6 Years Ago
          Yeah, that's true.... aside from the typo you at least made sense. I haven't seen ZR1 around here in a while, so I figured I'd take a shot in the dark. You haven't claimed to own a V8 Vantage, ZR1, GT-R, and god knows what else yet, so I guess you're clear. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh, duh, thanks, read too fast... :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Toyota, the bar has been raised. What's the matter, can't hang? Don't pout to us about it.
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