The most popular electric vehicles are not eligible for the Texas EV rebate program – Corridor News

JTop-selling electric vehicles in the United States are not eligible for the Texas rebate program because Tesla does not have dealerships.

It’s one of the many challenges Tesla still faces in Texas after moving its headquarters to the state in December 2021 from California. The company also faces the prospect of not being able to sell the vehicles it builds in Texas to Texans without shipping them out of state first, according to The Drive.

Texas released a list of electric vehicles eligible for the Light Motor Vehicle Purchase or Lease program last month. The program offers rebates of up to $2,500 for the purchase or lease of specific electric vehicles.

The list of eligible electric vehicles includes 142 different models from almost every major automaker, including the cheapest electric vehicle for sale in the United States. It also includes 22 BMW models, 17 offerings from Porsche, 15 from Audi, 14 from Ford, six from Mercedes Benz and two from Bentley, among others. The list includes three Nissan models, including some Nissan Leaf models. The vehicle models on the list range from 2017 to 2022.

Notably absent from the list is Tesla, the Austin-based company that makes the best-selling electric vehicle models in the United States.

“The program currently requires eligible vehicles to be purchased or leased from an authorized new vehicle dealership or leasing company in Texas,” said Laura Lopez, Texas media and community relations manager. Commission on Environmental Quality, which administers the rebate program. “Under Texas law, vehicles purchased directly from the manufacturer or from an out-of-state dealer not licensed to sell or lease new vehicles in Texas are not eligible for rebate.”

Tesla moved its headquarters to its Gigafactory Texas in Travis County in December 2021 thanks in part to tax breaks from Travis County and the Del Valle School District worth up to $64.7 million, reported. Reuters.

Tesla spent $5 billion to acquire the land and another $1.1 billion to build the 4.5 million square foot factory, according to media reports. Tesla previously said the plant would create 5,000 jobs. The average annual salary would be around $47,000, Reuters reported.

Texas laws prevent Tesla and other automakers from selling vehicles directly to consumers. Some state lawmakers had advanced measures that would have allowed the company to circumvent these laws, but the measures have not advanced and the legislature will not return until 2023. The Texas Automobile Dealers Association said the laws of Texas protected competition.

“Texas franchise dealer laws protect competition and provide the most efficient delivery model for new and used car sales in Texas,” said Jennifer Stevens, spokeswoman for the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. “The current system is working well for Texas and Texans.”

Without changes to state law, Tesla faces the prospect of having to ship the vehicles it manufactures in Texas out of state for Texans to buy. Tesla has a series of galleries in the nation’s second-most populous state, but gallery workers aren’t allowed to discuss pricing.

State Rep. Cody Harris, a Republican who represents District 8, introduced a bill in 2021 that would make an exception to the dealer franchise law, but the measure has not moved forward. Nonetheless, Harris told The Center Square that Tesla will thrive regardless of what happens in the 2023 legislative session.

“As markets and technologies change, we want to be the go-to state for businesses that are being crushed by heavy regulation in other parts of the country, which is why Tesla chose to move here from California.” , he said in an email.

Zach Whiting, senior technology policy researcher at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said the state’s franchise laws are outdated.

“The ban on direct vehicle purchases from manufacturers boils down to Texas’ antiquated franchise laws. Understandably, car dealerships oppose changes to franchise laws…However, technology has opened up new possibilities to buy the vehicle you want, not necessarily a vehicle in a dealership’s lot,” he said. he declares. “For a matter of freedom in the free market, one should be able to buy any vehicle, from whom, where and how one wants and can afford.”

Carla Bailo, president and CEO of Michigan’s Center for Automotive Research, said Texas isn’t the only state with dealership laws. Many other states have similar rules on the books.

However, she said she expects dealer laws to change over time in response to consumer demand despite the political pull of dealers, who are often deeply embedded in local communities.

“It certainly hasn’t slowed Tesla’s sales down – they’re still selling in all these places where they don’t have dealerships – and a lot more companies are starting to go that route because the consumer really likes it,” she said. “[Dealership laws] protect something that might be abandoned anyway. The dealership, unfortunately, hasn’t always been a pleasant experience for many people.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk referenced the challenges in a tweet last year.

“Tesla would certainly appreciate changing the law, so it’s not mandatory!” Musk tweeted in May 2021 in response to a news report about the prospect of having to ship Texas-built cars out of state before they can reach buyers in Texas.

Recent studies indicate that people likely to buy an electric vehicle already own one and have a median annual household income of $95,000. BlastPoint, a data analytics company in Pennsylvania, reported that its research found that about 25% of likely EV buyers have an annual household income above $150,000 per year.

One of the most expensive electric vehicles eligible for the rebate in Texas is the 2021 Bentley Bentayga, a plug-in hybrid. The list price for this vehicle is $183,225, according to Kelley Blue Book. The expected car payment for a $183,000 vehicle for someone with great credit, a $10,000 down payment, and a 48-month loan is $3,875 per month, according to Driveway.com.

The state provided 1,058 rebates worth $2.57 million in taxpayer money for hydrogen or electric cars in 2021. State law sets a cap of 2,000 rebates.

Ryan H. Bowman