The Senate has approved a sweeping energy bill that includes a provision for a rather substantial tax credit for plug-in hybrids. Of course, the bill still needs to make it through the House, so there's no reason for PHEV proponents to get too excited just yet. The tax credits have a range of $2,500 to $7,500 and the actual dollar amount depends on the available capacity of the vehicle's battery. We are still waiting for all the details, as these things tend to be hugely complicated, but early indications are that the Volt from GM would be the only vehicle currently announced that would qualify for the maximum credit. Toyota voiced some dissent regarding that point, and we don't yet know if any changes were made. Of course, if Chrysler is able to get some of its new concepts into production, it may also qualify.
Current hybrid tax credits expire for a manufacturer after it has sold 60,000 vehicles. The new legislation allows for 250,000 qualifying PHEVs to be sold before it expires, but we are not yet clear on whether it would be phased out on a manufactuer-by-manufacturer basis or just end alltogether. Expect these issues to be made clearer in the near future.