Does the Nissan Leaf Qualify for the EV Tax Credit?

Buying a new Nissan Leaf can be expensive, but so is purchasing a new EV in general. That said, the government wants Americans to buy EVs, so it offers a pretty significant tax credit to consumers. However, not all EVs are eligible for the credit. Here’s a look at whether the Nissan Leaf can get one.

What is the federal EV tax credit?

To address the high purchase prices of EVs and hybrids, the U.S. government created a federal EV tax credit over a decade ago. First and foremost, the government looks at a few factors to determine which cars are eligible for the tax credit and how much the owner can receive. For example, EVs must weigh less than 14,000 pounds, the size of the battery affects the dollar amount of the tax credit, and automakers will lose that credit if they sell over a certain number of eligible vehicles.

That last part is why Tesla EVs are no longer eligible for the federal tax credit. The limit is set at 200,000 vehicles, which means that when an automaker sells more than 200,000 eligible EVs, the government gradually phases out the tax credit for that automaker to $0. 

Furthermore, it’s important to mention that it’s a tax credit, not a stimulus check. That means the tax credit amount affects how much you owe for your taxes. Suppose you owed $10,000 and received the max EV tax credit of $7,500, your tax bill lower to $2,500. But if you owed $1,000, your EV tax credit would lower the amount you owed to $0. If you were due a refund, you’d get the full $7,500.

Yes, the 2021 Nissan Leaf qualifies for the credit

For better or worse, Nissan hasn’t hit the 200,000-EV mark yet. So, according to the EPA, the automaker qualifies for the full $7,500 tax rebate. This makes sense because Nissan sells only one eligible EV model in the United States, and that’s the Leaf. This means that for Nissan to hit the 200,000-EV limit, it would have to sell 200,000 Leaf cars, and that hasn’t happened yet.

On the other hand, automakers that have invested heavily into EVs and hybrids are no longer eligible for the EV tax credit. And so far, other than Tesla, General Motors is also no longer eligible, according to the EPA.

Other than the federal tax rebate, though, some areas may have their own incentives. For example, according to Clean Vehicle Rebate, California customers can get thousands of dollars in rebates for buying an EV or hybrid, including a Leaf. These rebates are not tax credits, and they will be paid in full no matter how much you owe in taxes.

An overview of the 2021 Leaf

Admittedly, the Nissan Leaf isn’t as fancy or eye-popping as some rivals. But it’s nonetheless an affordable EV that lives up to the promise of electric vehicles, Car and Driver reports.

The $33,000 base model packs a 147-hp electric motor and a 40.0-kWh battery. They allow the Leaf to get 150 miles on a full charge. That’s not a huge range, but it’s enough for many city dwellers.

As for the Leaf’s interior, it’s basic compared to a Tesla, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It has a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen display and a suite of advanced safety features for an overall smart, safe, and affordable EV.

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