Biden administration expands EV tax credits in boost for Tesla, Cadillac, others

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A Tesla Model Y on display inside a Tesla store at the Westfield Culver City shopping mall in Culver City, California, U.S., on Thursday, April 14, 2022.
Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DETROIT – The U.S. Treasury said Friday it is changing its definition of an “SUV” to make more electric vehicles from Tesla, General Motors and other automakers eligible for up to $7,500 federal tax credits at higher prices.

The decision follows Tesla CEO Elon Musk publicly criticizing the former standards as well as automakers such as GM and Ford Motor lobbying to change the guidelines ahead of final rules being announced next month.

The change raises the retail price cap to $80,000 from $55,000 for vehicles such as the Tesla Model Y, Cadillac Lyriq, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen’s ID.4. Previously some or all models of these vehicles did not qualify because they didn’t weigh enough to be considered an SUV by the Treasury’s standards.

The credits are part of the Biden administration’s $437 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which was approved in August. Under the bill, SUVs can be priced at up to $80,000 to qualify for EV tax credits, while cars, sedans and wagons have to be priced at or under $55,000.

It’s unclear how the decision will impact up to 20% pricing cuts announced by Tesla last month that made the Model Y eligible for the credits. Tesla did not immediately respond for comment.

GM, in an emailed statement, thanked the Treasury and hailed the changes: “The alignment on classification will provide the needed clarity to consumers and dealers, as well as regulators and manufacturers.”

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a lobbying group for most automakers operating in the U.S., also commended the decision.

–CNBC’s Chelsey Cox contributed to this article.

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