Tesla, the electric car manufacturer that discovered a new enthusiasm for the free market when the state of New Jersey tried to block direct sales to customers, is lobbying in Sacramento to protect the large taxpayer subsidies that have helped it boost sales in California.
The Air Resources Board (ARB) is recommending that the cash-strapped Clean Vehicle Rebate Program cap rebates at $500 and limit rebates to cars costing $60,000 or less.
That would rule out the Tesla Model S, as well the future Model X, and the new Cadillac ELR. Tesla is protesting mightily, according to a report by John Howard of Capitol Weekly, arguing that the rebate program has been “one of the most successful consumer facing programs for the California Air Resources Board. To date, it has contributed to the sale of 56,617 advanced technology vehicles in the state … including 5,800 Teslas.”
Tesla apparently felts targeted by the proposed rebate cuts, as regulators have noticed that the Tesla rebates primarily benefit wealthy customers in the luxury car market.
Tesla, quoted by Howard, complains that the ARB: “aims to paint Tesla as the sole purveyor of EVs (electric vehicles) to the wealthy, while disregarding the fact that individuals of similar affluence may still continue to receive a rebate by purchasing a different EV.”