The use of electric vehicles (EV) has been increasing over the past few years due to the introduction of new technology and products. Around 17,800 gas stations contain electric charging stations, which is only 15% of gas stations that exist within the United States.
As the number of electric vehicles on roads increase, construction of public infrastructure, such as EV charging stations, must increase as well. The integration of 3D printed parts at EV charging stations can provide a faster and less expensive alternative to constructing charging stations.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:
- Must be technological in nature
- Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
- Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
- Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives
Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.
On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum tax for companies with revenue below $50MM and for the first time, pre-profitable and pre-revenue startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in payroll taxes and cash rebates.
EV Charging Stations
One of the reasons why individuals may be hesitant to purchase electric vehicles is due to a lack of charging stations available when driving long distances. Some companies, such as BP Ventures, Royal Dutch Shell and Tesla, are aware of this issue and realize the need for more EV stations.
BP recently invested $5 million in FreeWire Technologies’ mobile EV rapid charging stations to provide an easy and efficient method of charging cars. Shell acquired NewMotion, which develops electric vehicle charging stations, to meet the current and future charging demands for electric vehicles. Shell believes it is possible for electric cars to make up 25% of global cars that are driven by 2040. Lastly, Tesla currently operates around 1,255 Supercharger stations that contain a total of 9,955 Superchargers. The company plans to install more Superchargers within the next few years with a large number of stations located in North America.
3D Printed Port Holders
Sometimes EV owners are unsure of where to place a plug when it isn’t in use to charge a vehicle. As a solution, 3D printed port holders can be created as a designated place to hold the component. The implementation of this holder can free up open space and prevent any obstructions. The holder was designed to hang from a wall and contains an angled opening to easily place the port in.
Another unique 3D printed port holder was designed by an EV owner, Joel Clemens, to create an easier method of charging cars at night. A MakerGear Prusa Mendal 3D printer was used to print the holder with 1.75 mm acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) material. The 3D printed glow-in-the-dark port holder was designed to hold a J1772 plug that is normally used at homes and public charging areas. Some benefits of this 3D printed component are that it provides a unit that is easy to identify in the dark and protects the plug from exposure to any dirt, dust, or insects. Clemens is also in the process of developing microEVSE and j1772 splitter/extension products to assist with EV charging.
The future for the EV industry looks promising as individuals realize the benefits of using electric powered cars. The potential growth in electric vehicles will impact the increasing need for EV charging stations across the country. Companies and designers who create and develop 3D printed components for EV stations are eligible to obtain the Federal R&D Tax Credit.
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Charles Goulding and Lauren Chin of R&D Tax Savers discuss 3D printed electronic vehicle charging accessories.