GE Fleet Services OKs $2.2M in hybrid vehicle rebates

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GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services has announced what it calls an industry-first hybrid rebate program for companies that lease hybrid vehicles. The rebate program is designed for customers that make significant investments in new technology aimed at improving their environmental performance.

Since the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 became law, GE says there has been confusion about how it relates to commercial vehicle fleets. Nearly $875 million of the Act’s $14.5 billion is reserved for advanced vehicular technology projects such as hybrid tax credits. Despite this, leasing companies have been waiting for additional guidance from the IRS, according to GE.

“While it’s unclear what may happen with future hybrid incentive programs from the IRS, we wanted to put a program together that would help our customers today,” says Robert Kruger, commercial tax leader for Eden Prairie, Minn.-GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services.

GE says the program processes a rebate back to hybrid lease customers in a simple, straightforward manner. The IRS sets the vehicle-specific credit amounts and OEM-specific phase-out requirements; based on IRS regulations, GE Capital Solutions says it tracks eligible vehicles for its customers by utilizing PricewaterhouseCoooper’s Like Kind Exchange Services group to calculate the hybrid credit based on eligible vehicles as reported by Polk’s VIN validation service.

GE Capital Solutions says it provides the allocated rebate to its customers and does not charge an additional administrative fee for the service. Based on this program, GE says it approved more than $2.2 million in hybrid rebates for its customers in 2007.

“We’re always looking for ways to make technology adoption easier for our customers, and this new program is an important step,” says John Righini, chief marketing officer for GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services. “Hybrids aren’t the only way to boost a fleet’s environmental performance, but they can make a huge impact. Helping our customers by making that impact more affordable is another way we show our support for their efforts to improve their environmental performance, and we look forward to implementing additional initiatives that will help our customers ‘go green.’ ”

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GE says it also is working with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop smaller lower-cost higher-performing drivetrain motors for hybrid-electric vehicles, recognizing this technology as a vital aspect in helping commercialize “plug-in” hybrid vehicles. GE says it also is developing capacitors with higher power density and higher temperature capability; this helps reduce the vehicle’s size, cost and weight, and also improves performance.