A White House Roundtable on Used Electric Vehicles

Co-founder & CEO
June 6, 2024

A White House Roundtable on Used Electric Vehicles

Recurrent joined other industry leaders at the White House this week for a business roundtable on accelerating used EV adoption. This is a topic of particular interest for us, and the foundation of our corporate mission

The discussion focused on making the used EV rebate (25E) more accessible to dealers and income-qualified shoppers, without necessarily going through the difficult process of amending the original bill.

Attendees included private organizations like Carmax, Carvana, Hertz, Avis, California Air Resources Board, Sierra Club, Plug In America and ZETA, as well as representatives from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Treasury Department.

John Podesta (Senior Advisor to President on implementation of clean energy programs) and Rachel McCleary (Department of Treasury) shared some of the key statistics about how the point-of-sale rebates are going – with a reminder that this has only been running for 5 months out of a 10 year program, so there is plenty of time and appetite to iron out the wrinkles.

  • 90% of the incentives this year are point-of-sale vs. tax credits. Last year 100% were in the form of tax credits vs. point-of-sale, because that was all that was available, so this is a huge shift.
  • 20,000 used EV rebates have been paid out at point of sale since January 1, 2024. This lines up with our market data on the total number of used EVs that will sell this year (550K), the percent that dealers are handling (55% of total used sales) and the fraction of used listings under $25K (30%). Our market math suggests that 15% of all dealer-sold used EVs are being sold with a rebate, so there are a good number of transactions that could be getting rebates that are not today.

Sharing Used EV Lessons from Recurrent

The team at Recurrent hears from thousands of used EV shoppers every month and is positioned to solicit feedback from hundreds dealerships that are active buyers and sellers of used EVs. 

Here are the topics that we shared at the roundtable on how to accelerate adoption of the used EV rebate. 

Education and Awareness

  • While automakers can and do push awareness of the new EV rebates (30D and 45W), there are no big advertising budgets pushing awareness of the used EV rebate (25E).
  • Dealerships are hesitant to advertise rebates on specific vehicles because of uncertainty around buyer and vehicle eligibility. State to state regulations can sometimes prohibit even mentioning rebates if only a limited percentage of the buyer base will qualify. Others in the meeting echoed this challenge.
  • The income limit for the used EV rebate ($75K for an individual) means that it’s difficult to thread the needle and find buyers that have enough income to afford the used vehicle purchase but also have regular access to home charging, which is more difficult in multi-family housing.

Ease of Use for Shoppers

  • Buyers need to be able to search for rebate-eligible vehicles on marketplaces and dealership inventory. This was the number one concern holding back shoppers in our poll of 20K EV considerers in the Recurrent community. Recurrent’s VIN eligibility check tool (in beta) is an initial resource for thousands of shoppers each month. Yesterday we committed to adding vehicle eligibility information to our Recurrent Reports that are used by leading marketplaces like Cars.com and Edmunds, as well as hundreds of dealerships nationally.
  • Buyers need to find dealerships that are registered to offer the rebate at point-of-sale. Since there is no publicly comprehensive listing, Recurrent also committed yesterday to partner with Plug In America to build out and maintain a full directory that we’ve already started here.
  • To establish proof of meeting the income qualifications, Recurrent recommended that the IRS create a buyer pre-qualification tool for taxpayers that allows an EV shopper to generate a letter or QR code that they can show to a dealer that removes the perceived burden of income qualification from dealers. 

Ease of Use for Dealerships

  • Like shoppers, dealerships also need to know eligibility when they acquire vehicles so they can price it in to their deals. Fortunately, Recurrent’s commitment on adding vehicle eligibility to its reports (above) also helps dealers, as these reports are used by ADESA and other wholesale channels.
  • Vehicle returns of rebated cars have to be handled. If an otherwise eligible used EV is “placed into service” and then returned within a few days — many dealers offer a 3-7 day return period — that VIN is technically now no longer eligible for the used credit on the subsequent sale. Recurrent, Carvana and others recommended that the IRS extend the rebate finalization window to match typical return policies and add portal functionality to cancel a report of sale and re-issue a new report of sale to a subsequent buyer without causing the VIN to lose eligibility.
  • We need to simplify the edge cases where a vehicle potentially loses eligibility, such as a lease buyout by an individual. We believe the best policy would be that each vehicle can receive a 25E credit when it is first sold for under $25K, but recognize the difficulty in amending the statute to allow for that.

Where We Go From Here

Recurrent made aggressive commitments to collaborate with Plug In America and other used EV stakeholders with timelines as early as next month.

You can expect to hear more from us soon as we renew our commitment to a vibrant used EV market.