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Buyer Tax Credits for Electric ORVs? MN Representative’s Bill Would Do It

Polaris 2023 Ranger XP Kinetic UTV at press event(Photo/Rob Utendorfer)
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A new EV bill could benefit outdoor professionals and agricultural interests alike — and its main sponsor claims it has bipartisan support.

Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) announced the introduction of a bill that could bolster electrification in the off-road vehicle market.

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Electric Motion Escape R; (photo/Electric Motion)

The Michael F. Donoughe Tax Credit for Off-Road Electric Vehicles Act aims toward one pivotal goal: to make off-road EVs more affordable.

The bill, designated H.R. 9481 and named after the late Chief Technical Officer of Polaris, would seek to help prospective customers buy off-road electric vehicles by providing them with a tax credit — similar to what already exists for electric cars.

It would boost a wide demographic of ORVs and fill a significant market void, according to Phillips’ office.

H.R. 9481 will “enable middle-class consumers, farmers, and small businesses to purchase electric off-road vehicles for work and recreation,” Phillips’ team said in a press release.

It went on to assert that less than 1% of off-road vehicles on the market are electric.

Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means on Dec. 8, the bill hasn’t gone to a vote yet. In the press release, Phillips said it could garner support from both sides of the aisle.

“Congress should support our transition to a green economy by providing incentives for American families and businesses who adopt new, efficient technology,” he said. “I’m grateful to bipartisan colleagues and local innovators like Polaris for being partners in that effort, and am looking forward to seeing more electric vehicles on, and off, the roads in Minnesota and across the country.”

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Polaris Involved In Bill

Polaris RZR 4-person side-by-side racing across a sand dune
(Photo/Garth Milan)

Phillips certainly has support from Polaris, as Mike Speetzen, the Minnesota-based company’s CEO, made clear in the press release.

“We have seen the advantages that electric technology can provide to off-road vehicles and their performance, especially for those who use their vehicle for utility purposes,” Speetzen said. “We believe the ‘Michael F. Donoughe Tax Credit for Off Road Electric Vehicles Act’ will help promote the electrification of off-road vehicles and make them more affordable to the agricultural and outdoor industry professional.

“On behalf of the entire Polaris team, we also are honored and deeply appreciative of Rep. Phillips’s decision to name the bill after the late Mike Donoughe.”

Donoughe, recognized for leading Polaris’ ongoing electric transition, passed away unexpectedly on July 2.

If enacted, the legislation named after him would create a federal tax credit equal to 10% of the purchase price of a new, qualified plug-in electric off-road vehicle, up to $2,500.

As proposed, qualified off-road vehicles include:

  • Off-highway vehicles designed primarily for non-road use and travel over rough terrain
  • Vehicles propelled primarily by an electric motor that draws electricity from a battery with a capacity of not less than 6 kWh
  • Vehicles that achieve a speed of 40 miles per hour
  • Vehicles that weigh less than 3,500 pounds
  • Vehicles that are assembled in North America (such as Polaris vehicles)
  • Vehicles that are purchased after December 31, 2022

As of this writing, the House of Representatives has posted no further scheduled action on H.R. 9481.

A search of both Open Secrets and the Federal Election Commission showed no contributions from Polaris to Rep. Phillips’s campaign.

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