Originally published on EV Obsession.
Tesla has confirmed on its website that it has officially delivered its 200,000th vehicle. The confirmation came as Tesla updated its website listing out the incentives for its vehicles, but other reporters — constantly eager for info on this topic — collected the news as well, such as our own Loren McDonald on CleanTechnica.
Hitting the 200,000th vehicle delivery milestone officially marks the beginning of the end of the $7,500 federal tax credit for Tesla’s vehicles. The tax credit will remain in full effect for the quarter in which the 200,000th delivery is made and the quarter following, which means that all new Tesla purchases in 2018 will qualify for the full rebate.
Buyers taking delivery in the two quarters following that — or the first half of 2019 — will receive 50% of the tax credit, or $3,750. Finally, the tax credit tails off over two more quarters, halving again to $1,875. The long tailing off of the tax credit has started, just as we knew it would, when Tesla passed the milestone.
Loren did a fantastic job of unpacking the details of the tax credit for current Model 3 reservation holders and the implications of Tesla hitting this milestone previously, and then updated his charts for Tesla a moment ago.
As to those reservation holders, the start of the federal tax credit doomsday clock likely means that reservation holders waiting for a standard range configuration will not get the full federal tax credit. That does not impact the possibility of a $35,o00 Tesla Model 3 build, but it does all but certainly nix the potential for a sub-$30,000 build of the car.
With the date confirmed and the milestones put down in ink, many reservation holders are now forced into the debate about when the Standard Range builds will be available. As a day 1 reservation holder in California and a Tesla owner, the timing in my Model 3 dashboard shows as 6–9 months out for the Standard Range battery. I’m not holding my breath … but that’s another story for another day.
As the first manufacturer to hit this milestone, the debate about whether or not the 200,000 vehicle limit is the best mechanism to incentivize manufacturers and customers to go electric is up for debate. Vermont Congressman Peter Welch introduced bill H.R.6274 that would eliminate the 200,000 vehicle cap on the federal tax credit in favor of a flat 10 year incentive period. The current design of the incentive effectively penalizes early movers for building electric vehicles, as they are forced to overcome higher R&D budgets and a larger educational gap with customers.
The new bill would also shift the incentive from being a federal tax credit to a discount applied at the time of purchase, making it even easier for potential buyers to go electric.
For more on the tax credit history — including insider info from the passing of the original bill — check out this Cleantech Talk Today chat: “EV Incentives Chat with Paul Scott (Cleantech Talk Today #10)”