Warnock to introduce bill phasing in key requirement for EV tax credits

Sen. Raphael Warnock
Georgia U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock says new legislation would give EV buyers in Georgia more options and help companies ramp up production in North America. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia is set to introduce legislation Thursday that expands the number of electric vehicles eligible for a federal tax credit.

It comes just a month after the Inflation Reduction Act limited the credit only to EVs with “final assembly” in North America.

Hyundai is planning a $5.5 billion electric vehicle plant near Savannah. But it won’t start producing cars for another few years.

In the meantime, new EVs made overseas by Hyundai and others, won’t be eligible for the $ 7,500 tax credit (used EVs could be eligible for a $4,000 credit).

Warnock’s bill, called the “Affordable Electric Vehicles for America Act,” would delay the “made in North America” requirement until 2026.

“We want to create jobs, we want to incentivize manufacturing in America, but we want to do that in such a way that we actually achieve our goals,” said Warnock.

Those goals, Warnock said, include lowering the cost of electric vehicles and creating new “sustainable, green jobs for the future.”

Warnock wouldn’t speculate whether the law, as it stands now, jeopardizes plans for Hyundai’s plant in Georgia.

“I’m not going to get into the weeds of their operation over at Hyundai,” Warnock said. “But I think they have been a partner in our effort to create jobs all across Georgia. We’ve got the Kia plant in West Point, Ga. and another plant in Bryan County which will literally create thousands of jobs and lower costs for Georgians.”

Kia is part of the South Korean-based Hyundai Motor Group.

Warnock’s proposed legislation will not change new price and income caps for the EV credits.

Rivian is planning to build its electric vehicles at a plant east of Atlanta in coming years. Its trucks and SUVs are already eligible for the tax credit as they are being produced in Illinois.

Warnock is also urging the U.S. Treasury to allow “maximum flexibility” as it issues guidance on how the EV tax credits will be implemented.

“I want to make sure we stay out of our own way,” said Warnock.

Warnock called the Inflation Reduction Act a “huge step forward” and says he continues to talk with fellow lawmakers about his new legislation.

 “I’m hopeful that my colleagues – particularly members of the Georgia delegation on both sides of the aisle, will work together to do everything we can for Georgia consumers,” Warnock said.