We’re smarter than California, says Magendanz
“We're smarter than California,” says lawmaker
Bill exempts partly-made-in-WA BMW i3 electric car from sales tax
after California fails to give it full green status
When state Rep. Chad Magendanz read that California backed out of a plan to offer consumers a full range of incentives for buying BMW's new i3 electric car, he thought California's blunder could be turned to Washington state's advantage.
The innovative BMW i3 is partly homegrown, with carbon fiber parts for its passenger compartment made in Moses Lake by SGL, a joint venture with BMW Group. Earlier this month the state of California said it wouldn't offer its coveted “white stickers,” which allow unrestricted HOV-lane use, to people who buy the i3 when equipped with the gas-powered “range extender” (REx) option, despite an earlier agreement to do so. Sales of the i3 in California are expected to be negatively affected as a result, since the range extender is a critical piece to address the “range anxiety” – nervousness drivers feel when electric power gets low – that has substantially slowed adoption of electric vehicles.
Magendanz, R-Issaquah, wanted to make sure Washington state policy would encourage sales of cutting-edge green cars like the i3, especially since the vehicle helped create jobs in-state. He at first assumed Washington's sales tax exemption for electric vehicles would apply to the i3, but when he checked with the state Department of Revenue it said its interpretation of current law makes the i3 range extender ineligible for the exemption.
Now Magendanz has introduced legislation, House Bill 2671, clarifying the language of the sales tax exemption law. It would replace the current requirement that vehicles be “exclusively powered” by electricity to “directly powered,” to make allowances for the fact that the i3's optional range extender doesn't connect to its electric drivetrain. The bill defines “directly powered” as “the direct source of power to a vehicle's drivetrain.”
A green car enthusiast with two electric motorcycles who's anxious to purchase an i3 when it hits the market in April, Magendanz said Washington state has every reason in the world to promote the i3: “Washington workers helped build it. It's good for the environment. And with our state's growing expertise in carbon fiber production, we can become a hub for this technology of the future.”
The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.
For more information about Rep. Magendanz, visit: www.representativechadmagendanz.com.
###Washington State House Republican Communications