California rule change affects Tesla’s eco credits image

As the US state with the toughest eco rules starts to modify its zero-emission vehicle program, Tesla Motors could see its sales of California environmental credits affected.

Last year the US electric automaker – which has seen a huge boom in its transaction fees for its shares and mostly accounted for its first profitable quarter last year because of sales of the credits earned by its Model S – could loose an important part of its revenue.

As of April 3, according to California’s Air Resources Board, each Model S would initially qualify for only four credits per car (in the state, but also in the states that follow California’s rules), down from seven in 2013. The Palo Alto company had a profit of $129.8 million from selling ZEV credits to other carmakers.

“The apparent preference for fuel cell technology appears to call into question California’s commitment to a California company employing thousands of people making thousands of zero-emission vehicles today,” said Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of business development.

This is because the 2014 Model S is a Type III ZEV – earning only four credits because of its rapid-refueling system not meeting the 15 minutes mark. On the other hand, hydrogen fuel-cell cars with a range of at least 300 miles (483 km) would qualify (their refuel process is as fast as a regular one) – and even the top of the line Model S (with the biggest battery) would not qualify immediately.

The Californian state also raised the maximum credits per emission-free vehicle from seven to nine – going to vehicles with very long range and a refueling time f less than 15 minutes.

Via Bloomberg