If I could have registered the BugE in 2009, it would qualify.
So for my BugE, here's how it could work....
Is the BugE a qualified vehicle? Yes! It is a three wheel vehicle propelled exclusively by electricity. It has 4-12V optima blue top batteries rated at 55A each. So, total rated battery pack capacity is 2.64KWH. That is just over the ARRA requirement of 2.5KWH.
Would I qualify for the tax credit based on time of purchase? Perhaps. Several kit components were purchased in 2008. However, the pile of parts I bought is not officially a "vehicle" until it gets a VIN. So, I would "buy" the VIN when I pay the sales tax on all the parts. At this time, the parts then magically turn into an official vehicle. If I get the VIN in 2009, I would qualify.
Now for the bad news. Thanks to the NY DMV delay, the BugE really existed as a vehicle only since it was registered (which unfortunately finally happened in 2010 rather than 2009). Meanwhile, the battery pack size requirement for 2010 increased to 5kwh. So, staying with the Lead-Acid pack put the BugE under the 2010 kwh limit. Had I registered it with a lithium pack, it might still have qualified for a tax break. However, I didn't. Ironically, I'll probably be upgrading to Lithium but I won't get a tax break for my doing so. Link to 2010 rules are HERE So, I've managed to avoid every single tax incentive for getting an electric vehicle.